In January 1988, Kent Cox toured the recently-constructed Delaware County Jail during and told his mother, “that’s one place I never want to work.”
This Saturday, Cox will be retiring after spending the past 30 years there as a corrections officer.
For those 30 years, Cox has worked to maintain safety and security at the Delaware County Jail and said his favorite thing about his job is the camaraderie he’s developed with his coworkers at the jail.
“It’s extremely [important,]” Cox said. “We have to have each other’s back.”
The high points of his career directly correspond to the two pins on his uniform designating both times Cox saved the life of an inmate in the jail, once in 2002 and once in 2014.
Sergeant Stacie Beck-Taylor, Cox’s supervisor, said Cox has been an invaluable asset to the jail.
“When I started here we did not have have the supportive administration that we do now,” Beck-Taylor said. “It was a long hard road for a female in this career field and I started on third shift and Kent’s always been there to steer me in the right direction every now and then. It’s cool to have the top dog on your shift!”
Beck-Taylor said the jail is going to be a “different atmosphere” after Saturday.
Cox said Beck-Taylor has been a great supervisor to work with and said Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin is “a wonderful fellow.”
“He’s the best sheriff we’ve ever had,” Cox said. “He’s a great guy.”
In his letter to the Sheriff and Jail Director Cox said it had been a pleasure to “serve under the finest sheriff that Delaware County has ever had…”
“I hope in some way that I have been able to bring honor to this department and my profession,” Cox said in his letter. “It has been a privilege to work with hundreds of fine corrections officers and the thousands of inmates that I have come into contact with over these many years. So I thank you for the opportunity to serve at the Delaware County Jail and for the fine people of Delaware County.”
Cox was honored at the Delaware County Commissioners Session on Thursday morning and Martin said as far as the sheriff’s office knows, Cox is the first employee to work at the jail for 30 years.
“This is one of those bittersweet moments,” Martin said. “Bitter in the fact that the county is losing an outstanding employee. Sweet in the fact that Kent Cox has earn a retirement after 30 years of service to this county… We hold Kent up as a benchmark because it’s a tough job day in and day out.”
Martin said Kent served the United States Air Force for four years and has lived in Delaware County his whole life.
“Kent has honored his family by his work ethic and diligence,” Martin said. “In the last 16 years, Kent Cox has taken five sick says. It’s remarkable… He’s done a good job… We are extremely proud of his years of service. He’s one of the most humble and, you can tell, quietest people you will know.”
Martin asked Cox to speak at the meeting and Cox simply said “Thank you.”
The commissioners extended “sincere congratulations” to Cox for his service to the county.
Delaware County Commissioner Barb Lewis said she was “overwhelmed” by Cox’s service.
“I’m honored as a commissioner to point out your excellent service,” Lewis said. “Thank you.”
When discussing post-retirement, Cox said he plans to travel.
Cox’s final shift will conclude at 7 a.m. Saturday.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.