Deputy heads into retirement
A Seneca County Sheriff’s Office deputy is heading into retirement.
Today is Deputy Denny Wilkinson’s last day on the job after serving as a deputy full time for 19 years. He said he is six months shy of 31 years in the retirement system.
Wilkinson said that if anything happens to an employee of the sheriff’s office, coworkers all are connected.
“They’re all like brothers and sisters to (you),” he said.
Wilkinson graduated from Columbian High School in 1978 and worked for Ohio Department of Transportation for a few years, beginning around 1979.
When he was about 18 years old, he rode with Chief Ray Weasner of Bloomville Police Department on weekends. The experience got him interested in law enforcement.
He said that in 1980, he went through Tiffin Police Department’s first police academy. He entered the sheriff’s office’s reserve program when H. Weldin Neff was serving as the sheriff.
Back then, Wilkinson said, a lot of times just the reserve deputies were working the roads on the weekends.
Wilkinson started as the maintenance employee when the current Seneca County Jail opened about 25 years ago.
“(Sheriff) Bill (Eckelberry) and I moved all that (furniture) out there,” he said.
Wilkinson left to sell cars for about six years and returned as a deputy in 2000.
He has been certified on practical application of force, has completed Operation: Street Smart – Gang & Drug Education and has completed a crisis intervention team training academy.
Wilkinson said he has enjoyed his career. It hasn’t been boring, every day is a different day and there always is something happening, he said.
“Generally, the public’s first law enforcement contact is with a deputy, whether the deputy is responding to a citizen’s call for help, locating a lost child, or apprehending a dangerous criminal,” the sheriff’s office website states.
Wilkinson said his favorite part of being a deputy has been meeting a lot of different people. He has worked with schools on safety programs and said he has a good rapport with them.
Wilkinson is going to get a lot of things done around his house and he and his wife, Deb, might do some traveling.
Wilkinson said he is going to stay on as a reserve deputy. He said Detective Jeff Smith is going to take over the Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate training and he told him he’d gladly come in and help if needed.
Wilkinson is a member of the Shriners and Masonic Lodge.
He also still will have Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Department to keep him busy.
Wilkinson, the assistant chief, said he does a lot of the inspections and has been helping out with grants.