Oneida County has its new sheriff.
The Office of Gov. Scott Walker announced late Tuesday that Sgt. Grady Hartman will be the county’s next sheriff, succeeding Jeff Hoffman who retired last month after 38 years in law enforcement.
“Sgt. Hartman brings a unique and beneficial skill set to the position of sheriff,” the governor stated in his appointment announcement. “His experience with local government operations, budget creation, and personnel relations will benefit the Oneida County Sheriff’s office immensely. I am confident Mr. Hartman’s close ties to the community will only enhance his leadership abilities.”
Hartman will take the oath of office Friday, Jan. 25, 9:30 a.m., in the Branch 1 courtroom in the Oneida County Courthouse. He will assume the duties of sheriff at that time and will serve at least until 2015 when the position of sheriff will be up for election.
Hartman worked as a patrol officer for five years before being promoted to patrol sergeant at the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department, where he has worked since 1999 and currently serves as the SWAT Team Leader.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UW-River Falls.
In an interview with the River News Tuesday, Hartman said he is grateful for the opportunity to lead the department and is eager to get started.
“I am excited and humbled at this opportunity to serve the citizens of Oneida County as their next sheriff,” Hartman said. “I am fortunate that there are great employees at the sheriff’s office and we are anxious to get back to work.”
Hartman said he applied for the position because he wanted to have a positive impact in the community.
“I decided that I wanted to try to make some positive changes and move the department forward. I have a love for serving this community and I have worked toward this for a long time,” he said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to serve.”
Hartman said he has a lot of ideas for the department’s future but needs to adjust to his new position before making any changes.
“My main focus right now is to get up to speed on everything,” Hartman said. “I have many ideas for improvements and I’ll slowly get into those as I get my feet wet.”
Chief Deputy John Sweeney, who has been serving as interim sheriff since Hoffman’s retirement, said Wednesday he has complete confidence in Hartman.
“Sgt. Grady Hartman’s experience and knowledge of our community will truly be an asset to the office of sheriff,” he said. “I am confident that Sgt. Hartman will work with our citizens of Oneida County and our county board to ensure that we have policy that keeps the delivery of public safety services a high priority. I know that Sgt. Hartman takes great pride in the sheriff’s office and the many highly capable public employees who have given their commitment to our new sheriff.”
Hartman noted he has had a number of good role models, including Hoffman, while working his way up the chain of command at the department.
“Jeff Hoffman has provided great leadership and a great example for me to follow,” he said. “I also served under Sheriff Tim Miller who was also a great sheriff. Having served in many aspects in the community, I feel like I’m connected with the people of Oneida County and will be very effective in serving them.”
Hartman added he is hoping to be able to continue to serve his community through his work as a town supervisor for Crescent and as a member of the School District of Rhinelander Board of Education.
“I’m hoping to be able to continue with both of those. I’m waiting on a legal opinion on that,” Hartman said.
As for the possible merger of the sheriff’s office with the Oneida County Emergency Management Department, Hartman said he’s going to take some time to study the issue before offering an opinion.
That plan was put on hold until a new sheriff was appointed so that he may be a part of the discussion.
“I haven’t been presented with the plan — the nuts and bolts of it — yet, but it’s one of the first things I’m going to look at when I get settled after being sworn in,” he said.
Finally, Hartman took the time to thank his family, and those in the community who have supported him, as he takes on this new challenge.
“I would like to thank my wife and our seven children for their continued support in allowing me to accept this appointment,” he said. “I am quite appreciative of the many people in Oneida County who supported my decision to apply for the position of Oneida County Sheriff. I am honored to accept this appointment and I look forward to serving the citizens of Oneida County.”
Marcus Nesemann may be reached at email@example.com.