Changing of the guards
Published 12:46 am Friday, July 3, 2020
By Dawn Burleigh
Orange County welcomed newly sworn in Sheriff Jimmy Lane Money on Tuesday night at a swearing in ceremony held on the steps of the Sheriff’s Department.
Following the swearing in of Mooney, Constable Pct. 4 Matthew Ortego was also sworn in by Judge Rodney Price.
Mooney has served as Constable Pct. 4 when he opted to throw his hat into the ring and run for the position of sheriff. He won the election in March and was prepared to wait until January 1, 2021 to step into the position until Sheriff Keith Merritt announced he planned to retire with his last day set for June 30, 2020.
“It was time,” Merritt said before the ceremony on Tuesday.
Mooney said the timing of the ceremony was to prevent a time gap between sheriffs.
“Merritt’s time ends at midnight, and I start at 12:01,” Mooney said.
He also said he brought 14 members of his own team with him and announced his Chief Deputy Keith Reneau.
“This is the highest honor of my 34-year career,” Reneau said.
Before thanking his team, Mooney said, “I want to thank the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ for this opportunity. I also want to thank Sheriff Merritt.”
Mooney said he has been working with Merritt to help make the transition smoother.
Constable Pct. 4 Matthew Ortego won the election in March for the position of Constable Pct.4, a position Mooney held.
“It’s a new day in Orange County,” Ortego said. “I am excited about it.”
Talking with residents, Ortego is aware the biggest issue is the battle against drugs in the county.
Ortego, after being sworn in said, “It’s a new day, new opportunity and the best is yet to come.”
Mooney co-owns Mooney Boys Jiu-Jitsu with his wife Michelle and his son, Marshall. He serves as director for the Vidor Chamber of Commerce, a Non-Commissioned Officer for the Texas Military Department within the Texas State Guard, an active member and participate in Search and Rescue Missions and Training and has been a licensed Peace Officer in the State of Texas for over 31 years and with more than 2200 hours of TCOLE training.
Matthew Ortego has served as Reserve Deputy Constable under two different Precinct 4 Constables as well as Police Officer for the Vidor Independent School District under the guidance and direction of Captain Jerry Parker a 40-year police veteran and former Vidor Police Chief.