Jefferson County Sheriff Retiring

By: 13 News
By: 13 News

A local sheriff is hanging up his badge.

Monday was Jefferson County Sheriff Roy Dunnaway's last day on the job. Dunnaway is retiring after nearly 25-years as sheriff and nearly 40-years total in law enforcement. His career started as a part-time city marshall in Perry back in 1969.

Dunnaway says the decision to step away wasn't easy. He says he realized Monday morning that it was the last time he was leaving his home as sheriff. He says law enforcement has more or less been his life. He says it's not the authority that he'll miss, it's just a way of life that law enforcement becomes.

Dunnaway says he's offered to assist the Sheriff's Department any way he can. He says he doesn't want to be a bother and he doesn't want to appear that he still wants to be in charge, but he doesn't want to just walk away and leave his colleagues either. He says he'll miss the commaraderie, not just with the officers in Jefferson County, but those with agencies like the Highway Patrol and KBI that he's worked with as well.

Dunnaway says he remembers each of the 12 homicides that have happened in Jefferson County while he's been sheriff, but the first is the one he says will always be with him - Jeannie Stewart, found in a well in 1984. He says in the homicides and other situations, he always felt for the family members going through a difficult time. He says he worried that he wouldn't solve the crimes for them, and that drove him even harder.

As for life after retirement, Dunnaway joked that his wife will want him to clean the garage. He says, as sheriff, he'd often start a project only to get called away. Now, he's looking forward to finishing things. But he won't entirely step away from law enforcement. He hopes to work for the county one day a week, doing security at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Longtime Jefferson County Undersheriff Jeff Herrig has been appointed interim sheriff. He'll also be considered Tuesday night when Jefferson County Republicans meet to nominate a permanent replacement to fill out Dunnaway's term. The Governor has the final say on their choice.

A retirment reception for Dunnaway is planned for Saturday night at the American Legion Hall in Perry.


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