Elected Sheriff 1973 to 1974
Earl Wayne McKeown was born on February 16, 1929, in Nashua, New Hampshire. After completing high school, he attended and played football for Duke University. In 1951, he joined the Air Force and eventually was stationed at Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, California, serving as an “Air Policeman.” Upon his discharge in 1955, he joined the Atwater Police Department, moving over to the Sheriff’s Department in 1957. In nine years, he was appointed Undersheriff by John Latorraca.
Upon Latorraca’s retirement, McKeown assumed the interim Sheriff’s position and was elected to the office in June of 1974. Tragically, McKeown suffered a fatal heart attack in August of the same year, cutting short a promising career.