John Sweeney, chief deputy of the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, said Thursday that he will retire later this year.
Sweeney, 52, is second in command in the sheriff’s office. He has worked there for nearly 30 years and is one of its longest-tenured officials.
He said he was leaving "to enjoy the world of retirement having served a wonderful career with a wonderful bunch of people."
"Now it's time to look at some other opportunities in life," he said in an interview Thursday.
Sweeney did not elaborate specifically on his future plans. He said his last day will be in late March.
In an interview, Sheriff Grady Hartman praised Sweeney’s service to the county.
“I can’t say enough good things about John Sweeney,” Hartman said. “He’s absolutely vital to our organization, and has just been a very valuable and loyal employee.”
County Board Chairman Ted Cushing said Sweeney talked to him three weeks ago about retiring. Cushing also spoke highly of Sweeney.
“He’s been an exemplary county deputy sheriff,” Cushing said. “From my tenure on the board, he’s been great.”
Sweeney has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in public administration, both from UW-Oshkosh. He said his entire career has been in law enforcement. He worked part time for the UW-Oshkosh police department and later was a police officer in Tomahawk. Then, in 1985, he got a job with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, working as a patrol deputy and later a detective sergeant. He became chief deputy in 2000.
In 2003, former Gov. Jim Doyle appointed Sweeney to the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission. He has also administered the North Central Drug Enforcement Group, a multi-county law enforcement task force.
Sweeney said he has lived in northern Wisconsin nearly his entire life. He moved to Oneida County, he said, because he wanted to return to the Northwoods.
“I’ve enjoyed every bit of it,” he said. “I’ve been blessed with working with a very talented group of individuals with a big commitment to doing law enforcement and public safety jobs in a professional and very committed way.”
To find a new chief deputy, Hartman said he intends to seek candidates from both within the sheriff’s office as well as externally.
Applicants will have to take a civil service test and be interviewed by the county’s Civil Service Committee. The committee will ultimately forward three names to Hartman, who said he will make the final hiring decision.
Hartman said he would like to have a replacement “as quickly as reasonable,” but he did not specify a precise timeline.
A meeting is scheduled next week to discuss the hiring process.
Jonathan Anderson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org