Checking in on Judge McCreight, Almost Three Months on the Job

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – When Houston County Justice of the Peace (JP) for Precinct One Judge Clyde Black announced his retirement after 16 years on the job, there were many calls for him to stay on and continue to serve the county. 

Black was determined to retire, enjoy life without the stress of the job and the late night phone calls. One of the candidates for the position was Sheriff’s Patrol Sergeant Mike McCreight a longtime veteran of law enforcement. 

What followed was a year-long campaign to take his candidacy to every corner of Houston County. Yard signs, shirt, hats – and thousands of man hours criss-crossing the southern parts of the county led to McCreight’s eventual win with 75% of the vote – a strong vote of confidence. 

McCreight officially began the job at the Houston County Courthouse when he was sworn in by Precinct Two Justice of the Peace and his old boss at the sheriff’s department, Ronnie Jordan. Intensive training courses then began as McCreight worked to get up to speed on the new job. 

The Messenger decided to check in with McCreight at the JP’s office on South 4th Street in Crockett and see how he was doing almost three months into his new role. 

“It’s great, I love it,” McCreight replied. “Staying busy with eviction cases, debt claims, small claims cases, a lot of bonds. And a lot of inquests – I’ve had a lot of those so far.”

Asked if the transition from active law enforcement to working as a judge had been a difficult one, McCreight said he had been preparing for his new job before he took over. 

“It hasn’t been hard, it’s just different because I have been on one side of law enforcement for so long and now I hear both sides,” McCreight said. “I have to be neutral.”

McCreight said he does miss the action out on the streets sometimes, especially when he hears the radio call or the sirens wail. It will always be in his blood, he said. 

McCreight has enjoyed protecting the rights of the people, even those accused of crimes and other wrongdoings. 

“Being fair and making sure everybody’s rights are protected – that’s a big part of this job,” McCreight explained. “No matter what crime someone has committed, they still have rights. And it’s important for me to make sure those rights are upheld.”

Judges Black and Jordan told The Messenger on several occasions that inquests were the toughest part of the job. McCreight agreed – and knew this would be the case even as he submitted his paperwork to be a candidate for the position. 

“It is tough. Unfortunately, it’s just something we have to do. And I’ve had to deal with it for 18 years or so in law enforcement,” McCreight said. “But you never get used to it, especially if you know the person. A lot of people I do know, I know the family and I sympathize with them.”

McCreight showed off his office, decorated with mementos of friends and coworkers from his time in law enforcement along with gifts he received during his time at the sheriff’s department. 

Asked what he would say now to that 75% of Houston County voters who elected him to be their judge, McCreight said being fair and impartial is the best way he can serve the people as JP. 

“To make sure everybody’s rights are protected and working for everybody,” McCreight concluded. “Not one side or the other but for everybody – neutral, across the board.”

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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