GEORGETOWN – With the primary election just a few weeks away there are four candidates vying for the Republican nomination for Sheriff of Brown County. The man who currently holds that position is Dwayne Wenninger. He is ready to retire but has faced a lot of criticism from residents in the County for the perceived lack of appearance while holding the office of Sheriff.
“I am here all the time,” Wenninger said. “Here is the other thing, they have talked about that for 16 years. But I come in and make sure the job is done. We run a fine well oiled machine. I put just as much time in as some of these other elected county officials. Is the sheriff here like they always got on me Monday through Friday from 8-4 and sit here 24 hours a day? No. I don’t care who is elected. They talk like ‘I’m going to be a full time Sheriff,’ you can sit here for 24 hours a day and sleep here and not get the job done.”
Wenninger said he takes a different approach to how to handle the duties as an elected official in Brown County. He said he doesn’t have to be in the office 24 hours a day, seven days a week to be an effective voice within the department.
“I run things a little differently,” Wenninger said. “I run it like a business. I have people underneath me that I feel can do they job and take care of certain things. I don’t micromanage. Some people do get a little jealous. I have been fairly successful over my career. Just because I do something part-time on the side, a lot of other county officials do things part-time on the side. I don’t blame anybody for bettering themselves. I feel like what I do on my own time is my time. But whenever there is a need I am in contact 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People call me, I answer questions. I come and go as what needs to be done. My police take care of it.”
Wenninger said that over his 16 years as Sheriff, the candidates who ran against him tried to use his working hours against him, but could not come up with other issues from one of the longest serving sheriffs in Brown County, ever.
“That is the only thing over the years they could try to gig me on,” Wenninger said. “Usually one term here, two terms you are gone. But I treat everybody fair in the county. I call an apple an apple and a spade a spade. I treat the public with respect and they have always re-voted me in.”
Wenninger said he invited anyone to visit any of Ohio’s 88 counties to see that a Sheriff does not work 24 hours per day and that he was thankful for the people who elected him over the years to serve as their Sheriff here in Brown County.
“The public was happy with what I did and how I did it,” Wenninger said. “I have 10 months left and I am retiring. That’s the point to, my chief deputy is running for sheriff and people have been asking him ‘are you going to hire the sheriff back,’ I put a thing out, no, I am retiring. I have other endeavors to pursue. If I wanted to stay I would have ran again but I am not interested.”
Wenninger said that even though he still enjoys his job as Sheriff, he thinks he has spent enough time leading the county’s law enforcement agency. He also said that over the last several years his job has become more and more difficult as more and more money is cut from the top down, at the state level, to counties and ultimately his department.
“It’s not the county’s fault, but numbers go down and the first place cut is the Sheriff’s office,” Wenninger said. “Three years ago I took a 10 percent cut and everyone was supposed to, but none of the courts got cut. None of the courthouses got cut.”
Wenninger said he felt the right thing for the county to have done would have been to cut the budget of the court system and force a judge to order the County Commissioners to fund their budget at the discretion of the judge.
“It would put the ball in their court and that is the way I feel,” Wenninger said. “I’ll cut but if you court order me you have to do it and that puts the ball in their court. But, were are the biggest budget and we get cut.”
The restraints the Sheriff has faced over the last several years in money is the key reason for him to not seek re-election. He said he is ready to retire to go back into his side business full time.
“I’ve done the best I can do with it and we’ve solved a lot of cases,” Wenninger said. “We’ve solved all our homicides and even some old existing cases, we still have the one left on 68 that I would love to solve before I get out. But I’ve solved ever major homicide and some old homicides since I’ve been around and I think we did rather well. I am still young enough, and I have other endeavors. I don’t need the stress and headaches of it and the politics of it. Some people not matter you do and how you, you can pass out hundred dollar bills and they’d still complain to you. I feel it’s time to let someone else have a chance at it. Maybe they can do better than what I have done.”