The commission chambers at the Franklin County Office Annex were more full this morning than usual as county officials and community members gathered to welcome a new sheriff.

Jeff Richards was sworn in as Franklin County sheriff this morning by Janet Paddock, county clerk.

Members of the sheriff’s office, as well as members of the Ottawa Police Department, attended to meet and congratulate Richards and his family. After the swearing-in ceremony, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners meeting took a 15-minute recess to allow residents an opportunity to shake hands and greet their new sheriff.

Richards’ first day on the job was expected to include paperwork and orientation with the county’s human resources department, Steve Lunger, Franklin County undersheriff, said. Richards likely would arrive to the sheriff’s office later this afternoon, if not first thing Thursday morning, Lunger said.

News that Gov. Sam Brownback approved Richards’ nomination as sheriff came Tuesday afternoon.

Richards recently was re-elected to the Ottawa City Commission, but has said he plans to resign from the city position.

The new sheriff has a long history of law enforcement experience, with his most recent work being a detective for the Overland Park Police Department.

For more on this story, See Thursday's Herald.