Salute the Badge: Pottawatomie Co. Sheriff set to retire next fall after 31 years in law enforcement

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POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) Thirty-one years of law enforcement will soon be coming to a close for Pottawatomie Co. Sheriff Greg Riat.

"I bet I have more fun than the Sheriff of Shawnee County, you should ask! Tell him I said it too,” he laughed.

Everyday, Riat walks the halls of the Pottawatomie Co. Justice Center checking in with staff, making sure everything is going according to plan in the 862 sq. mile county.

"I think we are really lucky here to have a rural county and a lot of good people," he explained.

Riat got his start in law enforcement back in 1987, working as a reserve police officer for the Wamego Police Department. In 1989, he came to the Sheriff’s Office as a deputy, and after several promotions, he became sheriff in 2001.

"I tell every deputy when we hire them that our job is to make things better,” Riat said. “And it’s so important to go out there and have that customer service, and use your good common sense and the statues, and have the good Lord looking over you, you make a difference."

But, he isn’t the only one in the family wearing the badge. He met his wife while working years ago.

"I was a detective when I met her and we met at a Capital Area Major Case Squad meeting, and at the time she was living in Wamego, and I didn’t even know it, and she was a Wabaunsee County Deputy," Riat explained.

Their son, Morgan, likes to make jokes about what it was like growing up with two parents in law enforcement.

“It was challenging at times,” Morgan laughed. “You know nobody likes the kid whose parents bust their parties.”

But, it also often left him wondering if mom and dad would be coming home.

"Ever since I've been around, I've known my dad as the sheriff, and you know like he said earlier, my mom is a police officer in Wamego, so that’s something very near and dear to me,” Morgan explained. “You know seeing my parents out there making a difference, that’s why I’m in the job that I’m in, I love to help people."

It’s been a family affair that's benefited all of Pottawatomie County.

"I've truly enjoyed my job and that comes with good people helping you,” Riat said. “You know I work with a great staff, but it also comes with working with a great community to have the input from them and the support that I need, and yeah, it’s been a good relationship, absolutely."

Riat says he plans to retire this next fall and spend more time farming with his son.