POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A big change is just days away in Meigs County, Ohio. It’s something folks there haven’t seen in decades -- a Sheriff’s Office without Robert Beegle.
He’s been a part of the Sheriff’s Office since 1957 and the sheriff since 2005. As he packed up his office Friday, he also unpacked a lot of memories.
“I came down here the first Saturday night in January 1957,” Beegle said.
He started as a volunteer -- then became a deputy.
“I remember one time as a deputy we had an armed robbery about two in the morning,” Beegle said. “I told the sheriff, 'They'll be at Crow's Restaurant eating.' He says, ‘You think so?’ I said, ‘Yeah, they'll be down there eating.’ We went to Crow’s and the guys we were looking for were in there eating. So we arrested them.”
Beegle spent decades as a teacher and principal. All the while, he was still working for the Sheriff's Office. He says students were never happy to see him.
“Better to see me at the school office because things weren't that bad there,” Beegle said.
In 2005, after he'd retired as a teacher, he decided it was time for a change.
“I ran for sheriff because the jail was closed,” Beegle said. “People didn't hold it in too high regard.”
He calls reopening the jail one of his biggest accomplishments as sheriff -- $90,000 a year that had gone for inmate housing was then used to hire more deputies. But it's his experience that his coworkers say was invaluable.
“He's really helped us with our investigating skills,” Sgt. Dan Leonard said. “Learned a lot from him watching him interview people. He's really helped us out a lot.”
Leonard has worked with Sheriff Beegle for 23 years. Monday's transition will be a change for him, as well.
“It's kinda like starting a new job,” Leonard said. “Don't know what to expect. When you get there you'll find out what to expect.”
As he packs up to leave for the last time, Beegle is filled with mixed emotions.
“I have my freedom now,” he said. “Don't have to worry about cruisers getting high mileage, no money to buy new ones.”
But on the other hand, it's the end of an era.
“Kinda bittersweet because I've always been used to working,” Beegle said. “You know -- school in the day, down here at night. So it's going to be hard to get used to. Now I practiced sleeping in the other morning.”
Incoming Sheriff Keith Wood will be sworn in Monday.