Kay Langford, whose career in law enforcement dates back to the old Henderson County Jail on Larkin Street died Thursday, Jan. 14, following an illness.
The Henderson County Peace Officers' Association posted a message Thursday night concerning the death of one of its longtime members.
"It is with heartfelt sadness to inform everyone that our greatly loved and longtime friend Kay Langford has passed away this evening as a result of COVID virus."
Langford had served as Pct. 1 Constable from 2017 to her death. She had been re-elected, unopposed in November.
Langford began as an HCSO dispatcher, then moved to patrol deputy, under sheriff H.B. "Slick" Alfred.
She later recalled that serving as a patrol deputy was groundbreaking in the county in the early '90s.
"Everyone treated me right. It took a while for them to trust me, to know how I would react in certain situations. But it wasn't long," Langford said in a 2017 interview.
A trying time in her career came after she had been on patrol for three years. While working a call, she was seriously wounded by a gunshot.
In 1996, Langford was promoted to investigator. In 2001, she was promoted to lieutenant over the criminal investigation division.
A job she found especially fulfilling was serving as lieutenant over the newly formed Henderson County Narcotics Unit, beginning in 2003.
"I liked working with people and getting drugs off the street,” she said. “Drugs are the root of all evil, I believe."
In 2016, she was encouraged by many, including Sheriff Ray Nutt to run for Pct. 1 Constable.
After her years in law enforcement she was most nervous about campaigning, public speaking and participating in forums. She did well enough to score a convincing win over a longtime incumbent.
"I worked hard for it," Langford said. "I was out knocking on doors, meeting and talking to people and ran a good race."
Langford's precinct includes most of north Athens and stretches to the Van Zandt County. A large part of a constable's job is executing civil documents and serving warrants.
Her office was in the courthouse where she worked closely with Pct. 1 Constable Randy Daniel.