SIDNEY — Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart was the guest speaker at the Aug. 10 meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Sidney.
He won election in 1976 and served until 1991. He then went on to hold several state-level positions in law enforcement and also worked in private industry. In 2010, he was appointed sheriff and he was re-elected in 2012. He is currently running unopposed for another term.
In 2015, Lenhart was named Sheriff of the Year by the National Sheriff’s Association. Lenhart joked that because of all the nice things that were said in Baltimore, where the award was presented, “I had to read everything twice to make sure it was me.”
Lenhart began his remarks by talking about work ethic. One quits when the job is done or done right, he said.
“Work ethic plays a big part in how you handle hard time,” he noted. The county went through some difficult times starting in 2008 due to the Great Recession.
“We are currently working on the same budget amount that we had in 2001,” he said.
Some of the programs currently implemented by the Sheriff’s office include the City Work Program, the State Work Program, housing federal inmates and housing inmates from four or five counties in Ohio. The office also has contracts with the towns of Russia, Port Jefferson and Kettlersville to provide law enforcement.
He said the department runs the concealed carry permit operation like a business. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and half-days on Saturday. The operation makes money for the county.
Heroin or other drug offenses account for 75-80 percent of the inmate population at the jail, Lenhart said. For those wanting to improve their lives after they serve their time, they can be trained in food service and food prep. It is something that they can put on their resume.
Lenhart concluded his comments by talking about community policing that departments across the country are adopting.
“We already do that,”Lenhart said. “They should take lessons from us.”