By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Recently exited Cooke County Sheriff Mike Compton said Tuesday he now abides in a mode of “100 percent” retirement, happily keeping busy by working on his property outside Gainesville city limits.
“I am perfectly content,” he said.
Compton, who served the county for nearly 16 years before the election of presiding sheriff Terry Gilbert, will be honored during a special retirement ceremony set for 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at the First State Bank Conference Center at 837 E. California St. in Gainesville.
It is open to the public and will include refreshments. Family friend Donna Allen said she is now organizing the ceremony with several other mutual friends, and cited an acquaintance that stretches back years.
“Our kids grew up together,” Allen said. “There’s not anybody in this county he doesn’t know. And I feel like he needs to be recognized for what he’s done, and this is just a way to honor him for his years of service.”
Compton served in the sheriff’s capacity for four full terms and finally retired on Dec. 31, evidently satisfied with those terms.
“I would like to feel that I accomplished that which I was trying to accomplish, which was to improve the sheriff’s office and to serve the people of the county,” Compton said Tuesday.
The former sheriff also said, however, that the fundamental target of the county’s law enforcement agency hasn’t vanquished.
“Crime is still there,” he said. “It was there when I got here and it appears that it was there when I left. I did the best I could to prosecute and to stop the crimes as much as possible.”
The former sheriff added that quantifying the local crime rate, and declaring its rise or fall, would be difficult.
“I think it would be rather bold of me to say crime has decreased, and I can’t give you anything to indicate that it has increased,” he said. “If there’s one crime, that has been one crime too many and unfortunately, there are many of them on a regular basis.”
And Compton stressed that though his tenure included many cases successfully resolved, the initial criminal damage always remained done.
“Any time a person is a victim of a crime, that crime is of the utmost importance to them,” he said. “Regardless of what other kind of criminal activity is going on. You can’t separate it from the individual; to the person who is the victim, that is of the utmost importance. For the victim, it hasn’t decreased one bit because they’re the victim.”
Press materials explained that Compton was born and raised in Dallas and attended Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets. He later enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1964. From 1966 to 1968, he served with Kilo Battery 1st Battalion 11th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps with the rank of Sergeant (E-5) in June 1968.
In August 1968, Compton entered the Texas Highway Patrol Academy in Austin. Upon graduation in December 1968, he was assigned to duty in Tarrant County. In the early spring of 1973, Compton transferred to Cooke County.
Compton retired from the Texas Highway Patrol in 1995, and was subsequently elected to the office of sheriff taking office on Jan. 1, 1997.