OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Douglas County Sheriff's Office (DCSO) celebrated one of their own after 50 years of dedicated service to law enforcement. Starting tomorrow, the first day of the new year, Sheriff Tim Dunning will be retired after 26 years of leading the department.
During the surprise retirement event, a call went out over dispatch radios saying, "The Douglas County Sheriff's Office thanks you for 50 years of dedicated service to our community."
Those on hand clapped, thanking a man who dedicated half a century to keeping others safe.
Holding back tears, Dunning said, “I love being here, I hate to leave, but it's time to go."
DCSO Captain Matt Martin said Dunning was able to get the department accredited — which ensures best practices for law enforcement agencies across the country.
Martin said part of Dunning's legacy will also be the K9 unit, which has taken thousands of pounds of drugs off the interstate and saved victims of human trafficking.
"Sheriff Dunning is a very fair person,” said Martin. “He has rules that we had to follow and he was firm on the rules but he is also very fair and understanding — that's what happens with his numerous years of experience in law enforcement."
At Thursday’s goodbye, Dunning's family was on hand to celebrate — making the moment that much more special.
“It’s going to be great,” Dunning's wife said. “We are going to be busy with our kids and our grandkids."
Dunning said he will miss the people he worked with, the department and the job — one that was different every day.
"I’m leaving it in good hands. I’m confident it will be better in the future,” he said.
The Douglas County Board, under Dunning's recommendation is appointing Chief Deputy Tom Wheeler as an interim replacement. Wheeler will take the reins for the remainder of Dunning's elected term as Sheriff.