WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Sheriff to Retire Early; Calls it "The Right Thing to Do"

Apr 5, 2018

McDonough County Sheriff Rick VanBrooker announced last year he would not seek a fourth term, and this week he told the county board he won’t complete his third term, which runs through the end of November. He said he plans to retire effective May 1.

“It just lets the office move forward.  I will have to be replaced. You’re going to have to do some hiring. Why draw it out to November or December?” VanBrooker told Tri States Public Radio.  “I think it’s the right thing to do.”

VanBrooker said he has worked in law enforcement for more than 32 years.  He became sheriff in 2006 and said it was an honor to serve.   He said during his time in office the department implemented a program that requires potential hires to complete written and physical tests.  He believes the department’s investigative unit has come a long way and the drug unit has been “wildly successful.”

VanBrooker feels it’s now time to turn his attention elsewhere.

“There are things I want to do this summer.  I’ve committed to some things. I’m going to have another grandchild in May and I’d like to spend some time down there,” VanBrooker said.

“I just didn’t want to be an absent sheriff.  I have a lot of things I want to do this summer and I think overall it (retiring early) was the thing to do.”

VanBrooker recommended the appointment of Chief Deputy Nick Petitgout to fill out the rest of his term.  Petitgout was already poised to replace VanBrooker after winning last month’s Republican primary for sheriff.  No Democrats filed for the seat.

VanBrooker said Petitgout’s “decisive win in the primary” (he received 64% of the vote to defeat two other candidates) made it easier to move ahead with plans to retire a few months early.

County Board Chair Scott Schwerer will be tasked with appointing someone to fill out the remaining months of VanBrooker’s term.  The appointment must be approved by the county board.