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Redman retires after nearly three decades in office

Kevin Farr,
The Bryan County News
Longtime Bryan County District Attorney Emily Redman retired Sept. 30.

For the first time in almost three decades, Emily Redman spent the morning of Oct. 1 relaxing at home drinking coffee and not worrying about going into the office that has been her virtual home for much of that time.

Redman, who announced her plans to retire as Bryan County District Attorney a few weeks ago, spent her final day on the job Sept. 30 after working in the office in some capacity since 1992, when she began as a clerk while also attending law school.

She quickly became a full-time prosecutor for District 19 (which includes Atoka and Coal counties in addition to Bryan County) after graduating from the OU School of Law in May of 1994.

Former Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry appointed her as the district attorney over that area in 2005 and she hasn’t had anyone challenge her for the job since.

“I’ve been the elected D.A. for 15 years, and luckily have never faced an opponent,” Redman said in a public statement. “After more than 26 years as a career prosecutor, I have decided that it is time for me to slow down and enjoy being more available to my family. That being said, the decision to retire and leave this career I’ve spent half my life doing was not easy and I will miss this life of public service.”

Redman admitted that it was never her intention when she began law school to become a long-term district attorney, but quickly became fascinated with the prosecution aspect and fell in love with it.

“It wasn’t really my plan initially,” Redman said of becoming district attorney. “I just wanted to go to law school and didn’t really know where it would take me. I can’t imagine doing anything now. It just kind of gets in your blood.”

She recently became eligible for retirement and remembered the words of one of her mentors.

“I had asked one of my mentors when they retired when they knew it was time and they said I would know it,” she explained. “I’ve spent a long time in this position, and anybody associated with it knows that it’s a 24/7 job, not that I’m complaining. Law enforcement issues happen round the clock and you have to be available. You can’t just forget about the job at 5 o’clock. It’s stressful, but also rewarding when you get to bring justice to victims of crime.”

During her time in the Durant office, Redman worked under former district attorneys Theresa McGehee, James Thornley and Mark Campbell before taking over the main job herself in 2005.

Since then, she has been up for re-election four times but never had an opponent, which says a lot.

“It may be saying nobody else wants the job,” Redman joked. “I consider it a blessing that I never once has to campaign for the position.”

Through her career, Redman has prosecuted a wide range of cases, with a special emphasis on violent crimes. She is renowned statewide for her prosecution in crimes against children.

Admittedly, a few cases stand out in her mind over the years, but she added that it was difficult to single out very many. It’s the family type ties that she has developed, though, that she expects to miss the most.

“A few cases stand out in my mind but generally crimes against children were my passion,” she stated. “That’s the majority of the ones I prosecuted when I was assistant. My goal was just bringing justice and peace to the victims and their families. That’s probably what I will miss most.

“The camaraderie of the law enforcement family was so special to me. It is a tight-knit group of people.”

Now that she’s retired from prosecuting, Redman isn’t sure what the future holds but will enjoy relaxing for a while.

“I’m looking forward to spending more time with family and friends,” she added. “I don’t see myself staying home forever. I’ll spend some time playing catch up with family and friends and then maybe get back and do something a little less stressful after the first of the year.”

According to Redman, Gov. Kevin Stitt will appoint a replacement district attorney to fulfill the remainder of her current term, with that expected to occur by the end of October. Until that time, first assistant Tim Webster will be the acting district attorney.