There's a new sheriff in town; Hagerty takes oath of office

<img src="/images/Article/7271.jpg">

by John Holler
It’s rare when historic moments take place at a county board meeting, but, with the final board appearance from outgoing Sheriff Gary Miller and the oath of office being administered to Sheriff-elect Joe Hagerty, the Dec. 14 meeting of the Wright County Board proved to be one of those rare moments.
Hagerty became just the fourth sheriff of Wright County in the last 60 years, where Miller took over for Don Hozempa, who became sheriff following the death of longtime Sheriff Darrell Wolff. He said the short list of sheriffs for more than half a century is an honor he doesn’t take lightly. With the two other living sheriffs on hand, Hagerty was sworn in as the new sheriff of Wright County after running unopposed in the November election.
“It’s an honor to be in this position,” Hagerty said. “The standard that Sheriff Miller, Sheriff Hozempa and Sheriff Wolff set is a pretty high bar to reach. But, we have an excellent organization here, and, thanks to knowing that this day was coming, the transition has been pretty smooth.”
In front of a standing-room-only crowd in the board room, Miller thanked those people who helped make his job enjoyable, saying that the organization that has developed in his department is as good as any law enforcement agency in the state.
“Every organization has a personality,” Miller said. “The people I’ve worked with here are some of the best people on earth.”
Miller said what has helped make the Wright County Sheriff’s Department run so effectively is living up to the motto “To Protect and Serve” – with both components being equally important.
“Right now, it’s kind of popular to denigrate public officials,” Miller said. “The private sector doesn’t have a monopoly on customer service. We have been able to build programs to help the public, like MEADA (meth and drug awareness) and the Safe Schools programs. There were no egos or turf wars involved. Everyone has worked together to serve the public and be part of an organization that does good for the communities we serve.”
Miller said he has no immediate retirement plans other than to take a break from a 30-year career with the Wright County Sheriff’s Department and take a little time to “smell the roses.” He said that he hopes he has honored the legacy and standards set for him by Wolff and Hozempa and that the next generation of Wright County law enforcement will continue that high standard that was set 50 years ago. As a gag gift, Miller was presented with a ball-and-chain from Yuma State Prison, which he said is in keeping with the sense of humor that he and his employees share.
Miller said the department has been an extension of his own family, and that, his proudest achievement has been to let people know that he is not just “the” sheriff of Wright County, but “their” sheriff for Wright County residents.
“It’s been a real honor to serve the people of Wright County,” Miller said. “It’s been the feeling of ownership that people have had that I’m their sheriff. It’s been great to go out and meet people and let them know that we’re here for them. I’m very proud of that and know that ideal will continue long after I’m gone.”
Hagerty took the oath of office in front of the county board, becoming the new sheriff of Wright County, and with Hozempa and Miller there to honor the moment, he said that he will truly have big shoes to fill as he takes his first steps as the new sheriff.
“The standard has been set very high,” Hagerty said. “When you follow great people like Sheriff Wolff, Sheriff Hozempa and Sheriff Miller. They have set a standard of excellence that will be very difficult to live up to, but I’m up to that challenge. I look forward to continuing the ideals that they brought to the position and my hope is to do their legacy proud in the coming years.”
It’s rare when historic moments take place at a county board meeting, but, with the final board appearance from outgoing Sheriff Gary Miller and the oath of office being administered to Sheriff-elect Joe Hagerty, the Dec. 14 meeting of the Wright County Board proved to be one of those rare moments.
Hagerty became just the fourth sheriff of Wright County in the last 60 years, where Miller took over for Don Hozempa, who became sheriff following the death of longtime Sheriff Darrell Wolff. He said the short list of sheriffs for more than half a century is an honor he doesn’t take lightly. With the two other living sheriffs on hand, Hagerty was sworn in as the new sheriff of Wright County after running unopposed in the November election.
“It’s an honor to be in this position,” Hagerty said. “The standard that Sheriff Miller, Sheriff Hozempa and Sheriff Wolff set is a pretty high bar to reach. But, we have an excellent organization here, and, thanks to knowing that this day was coming, the transition has been pretty smooth.”
In front of a standing-room-only crowd in the board room, Miller thanked those people who helped make his job enjoyable, saying that the organization that has developed in his department is as good as any law enforcement agency in the state.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.
Rate this article: 
No votes yet