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Beetham does right thing

Give Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney Owen Beetham credit for thinking of those he serves rather than only of himself.

Beetham, defeated by Lauren Knight in the April primary election, was scheduled to leave office in early January. Knight, who went on to win the general election, will succeed him.

But Beetham has submitted a letter of resignation, which he presented to the Harrison County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday. In that letter, he states that he will leave the prosecutor’s office this week.

Some might think the decision represents sour grapes on Beetham’s part. That, however, is not the case. If Beetham had opted to resign immediately after his defeat in the spring, the situation would have been far different. Instead, he continued to work as a public servant, sticking it out through most of the remainder of his term.

Now he is stepping aside to make way for a new presence in the office.

That allows Knight to begin her new duties sooner than expected.

Beetham has done an admirable job during his term in the prosecutor’s office. Not only has he successfully prosecuted serious cases of serious crimes such as rape, but he also has provided valuable legal advice to the commissioners and other elected officials. And his office took over legal representation of the county’s children under the care of the Department of Job and Family Services.

Beetham pointed out that a variety of criminal trials and other important matters are expected to come before the prosecutor’s office early next year. After discussing the matter with Knight, Beetham decided the right thing to do was to leave early so she could have plenty of time to prepare.

As he put it, his action should allow Knight to “hit the ground running … “

That attitude serves Harrison County residents well. Beetham may miss out on a few county paychecks, but he leaves office with the satisfaction of having done the right thing.

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