Hartman turns 65, says 'it's time' to retire
By ELISA SAND, Staff Reporter
Two years after being re-elected to a fourth term in office, Lake County's sheriff has announced his retirement. Lake County Commissioners accepted the resignation of Roger Hartman on Tuesday, bringing to a close a 38-year career in law enforcement -- 14 of which were as the local sheriff.|
Hartman walked into Lake County's Sheriff's Office in 1987, became chief deputy in 1993 and was elected sheriff in 1998. Hartman hinted at retirement in 2010, but in an interview Tuesday afternoon he said that circumstances at the time changed and he added his name to the ballot, successfully winning the seat over two challengers -- local police officers Dan Wyatt and Jason Lurz.
Now, two years before his term expires, Hartman announced his retirement. Hartman, who turned 65 on Tuesday, cited no specific reason for vacating his term early, simply stating, "I've been doing this 38 years. It's time."
Looking back, Hartman said, there have been some big changes in law enforcement. Evidence that used to take weeks to process now takes just days, and officers can use DNA evidence to connect a suspect to a crime. Hartman said DNA evidence wasn't part of the investigative process 30 years ago.
"Technology has come a long way since I got started," he said.
In addition to installing cameras in the jail, officers use more electronic devices in their patrol cars that include video cameras and recording devices.
Officers have moved beyond ink and paper for most fingerprinting and now use a device called Livescan to electronically record fingerprints.
Computer use has expanded from one used solely by the office manager to machines used throughout the Sheriff's Office.
Hartman oversees the operation of both the jail and the Sheriff's Office. Personnel in those offices include four deputies, four jailers and the office manager.
Hartman annually drafts the budgets for both offices, which total approximately $500,000. Several items on the budget, he said, are simply guesses based on past trends. Some of those wild-card budget items include incarceration costs for women and juvenile prisoners, both of whom are housed in facilities outside Lake County. The cost of medication for prisoners is another unknown.
While deputies work on solving crimes in Lake County, Hartman said that a primary job for him is issuing civil processes like judgments and foreclosure notices.
"Those have increased considerably," he said.
Hartman said foreclosures have jumped from about three a year to three per month, and small claims judgments have increased quite a bit as well.
County commissioners will decide in two weeks how they will fill the elected position.
Lake County State's Attorney Ken Meyer said state statutes don't specify how a vacancy should be filled or the timeline in which the vacancy should be filled, only that the county commission is obligated to fill the vacancy of an elected official.
Hartman's resignation is effective Dec. 23, which is the end of the county's 2012 calendar year. The commission's selection for the position will fill out the two years remaining on Hartman's term and will have the option to go through the election process in 2014.
Asked if adjusting to retirement will be difficult, Hartman matter-of-factly said "Yes."
"I'm going to need to find something to do," he said.
And the two things he'll miss the most?
"The people and the routine of it," he said.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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