Salute the Badge: Sheriff Jeff Herrig

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Being the Sheriff in a small county means you have to wear many hats. Sheriff Jeff Herrig knows this all too well.

The Jefferson County Sheriff Office covers 557 square miles of Kansas, with almost 19,000 residents. While it's not one of the biggest counties in the state, Sheriff Jeff Herrig treats it like it's the most important.

"Love the area. Love the people. It's kinda a farming community," Herrig said.

His journey started in Leavenworth County. He met a girl, and moved to Jefferson County, and in 1982 he found his calling.

"Once I was able to get on here at Jefferson County, it got into your blood and you want to just keep doing it. Keep it on," he remembered.

He was a part time deputy. Green as they get, but had a mentor.

"Roy Dunaway and myself started lake patrol in 1982, together. Then he kept me on in 83', full time, and then I've been with him since. And he kinda groomed me I think," Herrig reminisced.

In 2008, Dunaway stepped down and handed the reins to Herrig. Since then, he has made the post his own. Among changes he's confronted, dwindling interest in joining the ranks.

"Right now law enforcement officers are valuable anyway. Just because we're not seeing the applicants. Get in there and do it. If you wanna help the public, it's a stressful job but it's got its rewards," he encouraged.

He's at full staff at the moment, but that doesn't mean less work for him. You'll find him out talking to community members, and assisting deputies because he knows the value of helping people.

"Roy Dunaway kinda instilled this in me, that if somebody takes the time to call the sheriff's office, we need to that person. We either need to respond to the house. Make that phone call. Get involved. It may not be something we can actually help them with, but we'll do everything we can do to help them," he explained.

His help doesn't stop at the county line. Herrig also serves on several statewide committees and boards.

"I'm one that I'll do anything for anybody around us. Doesn't have to be just in Jefferson County because at some point, knock on wood I hope I never do, but at some point I may need their help," he said.

And he says he'll keep helping others as long as he's able.

Sheriff Herrig said he has no idea when he plans on retiring, but until then, he'll be out there helping everyone he can.