While many elected officials in Monroe County have come and gone over the past 30 years or more, the county’s top law enforcement officer has held down the fort without interruption since 1982.
That will change following the November 2014 election.
Daniel J. Kelley, 65, has decided against seeking his ninth term as Monroe County Sheriff, opting to retire instead.
“I’m not seeking re-election once my current term is up,” Kelley told the Republic-Times on Tuesday.
Kelley, a Democrat, said he wanted to make his intentions known prior to the start of the candidate petition circulation process for the 2014 election, which begins Sept. 3.
One of the issues influencing the longtime sheriff’s decision is his poor hearing.
“My hearing is pretty bad, and they can’t seem to figure it out,” Kelley said. “There’s a big difference between the words ‘fun’ and ‘gun’ in this business, and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize our quality of law enforcement.”
Prior to being voted in as sheriff, Kelley served as an officer with the Waterloo Police Department from 1977 to 1982. He also worked part-time as a deputy with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department from 1974 to 1977.
Kelley served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966 to 1970, and is a veteran of the Vietnam War.
The sheriff lists many accomplishments for his department over his more than three decades of service, including the establishment of the area’s first canine program, implementation of a court security system at the Monroe County Courthouse, and facilitating the installation of computer-aided dispatch for optimal information sharing among public safety agencies.
“We’ve accomplished a lot,” he said. “We’ve kept the crime down by being able to detect certain patterns of behavior early on. We have a great staff and great officers here that get the job done.”
Kelley said he really hasn’t made any specific plans for retirement at this time, other than tending to his 22 acres of farmland on South Fork Road near Red Bud.
“I call it ‘God’s Country,'” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with land and buildings.”
Kelley is extremely thankful to Monroe County residents for allowing him to serve all these years.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens this long,” Kelley said. “I’m truly grateful.”
Two potential candidates to replace Kelley as sheriff are longtime MCSD Captain Dennis Schreder, a Democrat, and current Fairview Heights police officer Neal Rohlfing, a Republican.
Kelley said he believes Schreder is interested in running.
Rohlfing, a native of Red Bud who has lived in Hecker since 2005, will formally announce his candidacy for sheriff on Saturday.