George clearly remembers the day he became sheriff of Saline County. It was his birthday, a milestone he shared with previous sheriff Henry Hoff.
Hoff died the day before their birthdays in 1979, and the next day, George was appointed interim sheriff.
He prevailed over competitors for the appointment and in a subsequent special election, and he has been Saline County's sheriff since.
In the 33 years he has been in office, much has changed in the sheriff's department.
"When I started out, we were in the old jail at Odell and Arrow," he said. "There was no communication division. I had four deputies and a couple of part-time dispatchers."
There were no computers, and the average prisoner population was about a dozen at any given time.
George has overseen the growth of both the department staff and the jail population, which now averages in the 60s and occasionally spikes to more than 80.
He has been making changes since the beginning.
He said one of the first changes he made -- and not a universally popular one -- was to opt out of living in the jail building, as previous sheriff's had done. Instead, he converted the living quarters into office space so the staff would be able to work in one location.
"I caught a lot of flak for that," he said. "I thought it would be better to have everybody in one building."
He also oversaw the transition in the late 1990s from the old jail to the Saline County Justice Center.
George is the longest-serving sheriff in Missouri and is among the longest serving in the nation, he said.
"That's a great honor for me," he said. "I've been very fortunate."
That experience has enabled him to develop connections with and earn the trust of many people in the county, he said.
He said his relationships with citizens is key to his effectiveness as a law enforcement officer.
The top problem the county faces -- continued drug production and distribution operations -- is one George fights by depending on the people to be his eyes and ears in the county.
"We constantly have investigations going on targeting meth dealers," he said, noting that information from citizens helps further those investigations. "People know if they want to talk to me in confidence it's going to stay with me."
George was president of the Missouri Sheriff's Association in 1990-1991 and has served on the board of directors since then.
The board, which consists of three active and two retired sheriffs, oversees a $30 million retirement fund.
George lives in Marshall with his wife, C.J., who is retired from Saline County Circuit Court.