HOLBROOK — David Clouse is a grandson of former Navajo County Sheriff Glenn Flake. Thirty-two years ago, Flake pinned a badge on Sheriff Kelly “KC” Clark, who retired on Tuesday. Clouse was appointed Sheriff of Navajo County when Clark pinned the badge on him.

At the county supervisors meeting on Feb. 12, the supervisors unanimously voted to appoint Clouse as the man to succeed Clark for the rest of his term. Clouse is a fourth generation lawman from his family. He was sworn in by Superior Court Judge Robert Higgins, as Clark stood by his side.

A tearful Clouse said he was having a hard time in his effort to get the “Arizona’s Toughest Sheriff” award.

“I blew that,” Clouse said, overcome by the fact that he was taking over the job that his grandfather once held. He also said that he had become very close and best friends with KC, who might also have had a glistening eye as Clouse spoke.

Clark said as he looked back on his career, “I get to give the badge back to the grandson of the man who gave me a chance.”

Clouse said, Clark took the job because, in the beginning, he was a victim and he didn’t get into this by planning on being Sheriff, “But when he took the job, he did it because he really, truly loves the people of Navajo County. He’s a true statesman and a true public servant.”

The room was full of police chiefs from all corners of the county as well as a large contingent of county deputies, fire chiefs and Department of Public Safety officers for the ceremony. Apache County Sheriff Joseph Dedman Jr., was also present as well as a representative from Homeland Security to award Clark with a commendation plaque for his work in battling the drug epidemic. Dedman said he appreciated KC and that Apache and Navajo counties have always worked well together.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, White Mountain Apache Tribal Chairwoman Gwendena Lee-Gatewood, former chairman of the Hopi Tribe Ivan Sydney and many other native elders and leaders spoke of their respect for Clark and his longtime, dedicated service to all corners of the county. County Attorney Brad Carlyon said “KC, all the years we’ve worked together, you’ll really be missed.” Clark shouted back, “And thank you for keeping me out of jail.”

Both Clark and Sheriff Clouse thanked their wives for helping to make them the men they are today.

Clark and his wife Brenda, laughed as a slideshow depicted his career over the years and showed some funny images of KC in costumes and the two of them together.

Clouse thanked his wife, Angela, for putting up with all the tough hours his job demands.

Clark received many beautiful retirement gifts from friends and colleagues, and was greeted by many friends outside the meeting afterward. A retirement reception took place across the street from the county building after the meeting.

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