CLAY COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The people of Clay County now have a new interim sheriff. Sidney ‘Kirk’ Horton’s swear-in comes after Jeff Lyde was temporarily suspended as sheriff ahead of his removal trial.

The Clay County commissioner’s court met in an emergency session Saturday morning to swear in constable Sidney ‘Kirk’ Horton to fulfill the duties as sheriff pending the trial of former sheriff Jefferey Lyde’s case.

“Kirk Horton who was our constable, who is a former deputy, he’s a veteran, he’s dedicated, loves this county, and we feel like he was the best pick the judge considered seven or eight and looked at all of them, called all of them, and many of them recommended kirk Horton to be sheriff,” Clay County Judge Mike Campbell, said.

Campbell said he believes Horton is the right man for this job. The appointment comes after Justice Lee Gabriel temporarily suspended sheriff Lyde on Thursday, February 23, in the 97th District Courtroom in Montague where several current employees of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office testified under oath about Lyde committing sexual harassment and making racist remarks, as well as overall working conditions and the morale of the sheriff’s office employees.

Interim Sheriff Horton said behavior that is not acceptable.

“I take a vow and an oath very seriously, and I just want the citizens to know that I will fulfill that oath to the utmost of my ability and I will demand the same of my staff,” Interim sheriff Horton said.

With Horton’s new position as sheriff, Josh Ferguson was appointed as constable to take his place and serve the county.

“This isn’t the way that we wanted this to happen, but Horton and I are going to stand up and do what’s right for the citizens, and we’re just ready to get to work,” Ferguson said.

County Attorney and Commissioner Jack Pickett also stand behind the judge’s decision.

“Justice Gabriel made the best decision that she could with the candidates in front of her, and I think that Sheriff Horton will do an excellent job for the citizens of Clay County. There’s still a lot of unknowns out there that we’re going to have to deal with as [a] county and we will deal with those as they come up,” Clay County Attorney Seth C. Slagle said.

“Kirk’s a good family man and has the most experience that we have right here to be able to step in that position was our belief,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Pickett said.

Judge Campbell said the best quality about Horton is his honesty, something the county needs.

“Biggest quality about him is, he’s honest, he’s fair, and he loves this county and I believe he has the respect of the law enforcement community,” Campbell said.