Friends, colleagues and politicians lined up sometimes 30-people deep to greet and converse with Medina County Sheriff Neil Hassinger at a retirement party for him Wednesday at Buffalo Creek Resort.
Hassinger, a Wadsworth resident, served four terms for a total of 16 years as the Sheriff of Medina County. He had expected to serve only one term but was reelected three times. Hassinger has been in law enforcement since 1965 having served with the Ohio Highway Patrol before being elected Sheriff.
One of the major changes he saw over the course of his law enforcement career is in the area of technology. He noted that with a radio on his belt at the beginning of his tenure, law enforcement now has computers in every car and license plate readers.
Hassinger said "technology is tremendous." He added it helps "solve crimes" and "prevent crime." He said the objective is to prevent crime from occurring.
"Medina County is fortunate," Hassinger noted. "We have excellent law enforcement in this County."
He also praised the judges and prosecutors who are very supportive.
"Drug dealers' money has been put to work for the taxpayer," Hassinger explained. "Cars, equipment and computers" have been purchased with money that came from drug busts, he stated.
Hassonger said a major change he saw in his career in law enforcement is the "lack of respect for law enforcement officers." He said this is "very disappointing."
Hassinger did not run for a fifth term. Tom Miller, who was elected by voters in November, succeeds him.
Now that his duties as Sheriff are finished, Hassinger said he plans to attend more of his grandchildren's sporting events many of which he had to miss when he was on duty.
He also expects to volunteer more with his church and continue to serve on the YMCA Board and the Medina Hospital Citizens Advisory Board.
"I don't want to sit around and do nothing," Hassinger interjected.
Hassinger said he and his wife Pat may do some traveling and even go on a cruise but noted, "We are not going to travel until my granddaughter Haley's basketball season is over.
"I really liked the job and will miss the people, the job and the association with other police departments," he acknowledged.