Q&A with Sheriff Jerry ‘Peanuts’ Gaines

By Lauren Nolan

Lifelong Warren County resident Jerry “Peanuts” Gaines has been the Bowling Green Sheriff for 35 years. Prior to that, he was a Warren County magistrate. In 2010, Gaines was chosen National Sheriff of the Year by the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA). He was also President of the NSA in 2000 and 2001.

I sat down with Gaines to gain some perspective on his position and to find out why he has stuck with it for so many years.

Q: What made you decide to go down this career path?

A: My daddy was a deputy sheriff, and I was always interested in law enforcement. When I was about six years old the sheriff at the time came to our house and I said “Who is he?” And my daddy said, “That’s the sheriff.” That fascinated me.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about your job and what you do?

A: Well that’s really easy – helping people. I help more people than anybody and that’s what the sheriff is for. The sheriff is elected law enforcement for the people. I work for them, I belong to them. ‘Cause I’m theirs. And really that’s the way it is. I was just talking to a girl, she was paying her taxes a while ago. I said, “Really I work for you!” And she said, “You do Peanut Gaines and don’t you forget it!”

Q: Do you ever miss being out on the street?

A: I do to a certain extent. I used to love to work break-ins. I’d catch them. I really would. We’d catch them and I loved that. It feels good.

Q: Do you ever want to do something else?

A: No. Actually, I’m in my 35th year. I’m the longest serving sheriff in Kentucky. And I have the best full-service sheriff’s department in the state of Kentucky. I mean, they are that good. As long as I keep that going, I’ll be here.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I live on a farm at Smiths Grove and I have cattle. I drive the tractor. I love to bush-hog. I do my thinking when I’m bush-hogging.

Q: You’re known to have a humorous side. Do you like to tell jokes?

A: Well, I have a serious side to me and a humorous side. And I’m the world’s best at roasting people. I burn them up. I singe their hair. I tell them things they don’t want to hear. They love it… Actually I haven’t roasted Gary Ransdell, because I hadn’t been around him that much. But one of these days I’ll get him.

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