Retired sheriff officers honored

Retired county sheriff officers are being recognized by the department.

They have received retirement badges, a practice Sheriff Tom Kleinhelter plans to continue.

“It was just something that I thought would be a great thing to do,” he said, “to recognize the retired officers that were still living with us.”

The metal badges are secured in wallet-sized folders that can be carried in a person’s pocket. Each badge has on it the words “Dubois County” and “State of Indiana,” the person’s name and the person’s title upon retirement, such as retired sheriff, retired sergeant, retired chief deputy or retired deputy.

“It’s something that that they could pass on to their kids or grandkids when that day comes,” the sheriff said. “But they can utilize it now.”

Also included in the folder is identification with the retiree’s photo and information that notes the person is allowed to carry a concealed weapon.

“After 20 years, you can retire in good standing and you are allowed to have what is basically like a gun permit,” Kleinhelter said. “It will allow you to carry concealed anywhere in the United States.”

Kleinhelter decided to give out the badges after getting requests from some retirees. “They asked if we could write them a letter,” he said, “so that if they get stopped in a car, they have a letter that officially tells them that they’re retired and good standing.”

The county sheriff decided to do something better than that.

“My thought was to just go ahead and put that into a badge, so to speak,” Kleinhelter said, “an identification badge that has their photo on it and gives the Indiana code. It shows that this person, who has retired in good standing, is allowed to carry a concealed weapon.”

So far, eight retirement badges have been presented. The recipients are:

• Sheriff Jerry Breeding: Breeding served as Dubois Town Marshal for three years before joining the sheriff’s office in 1976. He was elected county sheriff in November 1998, and served two four-year terms. Breeding retired in 2007.

• Sheriff Donny Lampert: Lampert was hired as a jail officer in 1989 and sworn in as a deputy in 1990. He was elected as county sheriff in November 2010 and served two four-year terms. Lampert retired in 2019.

• Sheriff Terry Tanner: Tanner joined the sheriff’s department in 1975. He served as chief deputy for 12 years before being elected county sheriff in November 1990. He served two terms, then became chief deputy for eight years before being elected again as county sheriff in 2006. Tanner retired in 2011.

• Sergeant Gary Harlow: Harlot started as a jail officer in 1980 and was sworn in as a deputy in 1986. He was promoted to sergeant and then detective, a position he served in for 14 years. Harlow retired in 2013, after 33 years of service.

• Sergeant Forrest Kieser: Kieser started at the department as chief jailer in 1988; he was sworn in as a deputy that same year, and was later promoted to sergeant. Kieser retired in 2013.

• Sergeant Stuart Wilson: Wilson was hired in 1998 as a jail officer and sworn in as a deputy in 1999. Wilson was promoted to sergeant in 2016. He worked for the department for more than 22 years. Wilson retired in 2021 to become director of the Dubois County 911 Department.

• Deputy Tom Bell: Bell joined the department in 1990 as a jail officer and was sworn in as a deputy in 1995. Bell retired his deputy position in 2016 and became a jail officer; he was assigned to Courthouse security, a position in which he currently serves.

• Deputy Tony Haas: He was hired in 1980 as a jail officer and sworn in as a deputy in 1984. Haas served 27 years, retiring in 2007.

“I hope to do this at the point when somebody retires,” Kleinhelter said. “It would be one of those actions we do on their last day.”

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