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Seelye wins Sheriff of Year

Seelye wins Sheriff of Year
Seelye wins Sheriff of Year
Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye (click for larger version)

For the fourth consecutive year, the plaque given to Indiana’s Sheriff of the Year will remain in Southern Indiana.
Last year, Floyd County’s Darrell Mills was the recipient. In 2010, Sheriff John Lizenby of Scott County earned the title, and, in 2009, the winner was Tim Wilkerson of Crawford County.
For 2012, Harrison County Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye was chosen as Sheriff of the Year by the Indiana Sheriff’s Association.
Seelye, who is in the second year of his first term in office, is the first sheriff from this county to receive the honor, according to the sheriff’s association. He was nominated by office staff and fellow officers. The 12-person budget and personnel committee from the sheriff’s association, which is made up of 12 current elected sheriffs, sifted through candidates to select the winner.
‘To be honest, this award should be for the sheriff’s department of the year,’ Seelye said. ‘I’m not the one out there locking people up. I’m not the one working in corrections. I’m not the one working the front window. I get a lot of the credit, but it’s those people that get it done. The staff, the road officers, they are the ones who make me look good.’
While that may be, the honor goes to the sheriff for his or her role in overseeing the department.
‘Sheriff Seelye has shown the leadership in building public relations and strengthening the sheriff’s office, not only in Harrison County, but for all sheriffs in Indiana. Stepping into a bad situation when elected, he knew it was going to be a challenge and he has proven to lead his community and build trust for his citizens he works for each day. The ISA is proud of the job Sheriff Seelye has done and has been honored in assisting his office when needed,’ Stephen P. Luce, executive director of the ISA, said. ‘Sheriff Seelye is working hard and to receive this award amongst 91 other sheriffs tells a story in itself. He should be congratulated and supported to have accomplished so much for his office and the citizens of Harrison County.’
Seelye, who will receive the award at the ISA annual conference Saturday in Indianapolis, didn’t know about his winning the award until Maegan DeVore, HCSD office manager, told him that Luce had left a phone message and he was to return Luce’s call.
‘I thought it was to get me more active in the sheriff’s association,’ Seelye said. ‘I went to the first meeting right before I took office and hadn’t been to one since because we were so busy working on things here, working the fair parade and things like that. I was pretty surprised. I had no clue I’d even been nominated.’
In May, DeVore submitted a nomination letter in which she described Seelye’s leading by example.
‘Sheriff Seelye works numerous hours, many of them spent on the road helping police officers in their day-to-day duties … Sheriff Seelye takes ‘shifts’ on the road when officers are sick or on vacation after dealing with the administrative duties of both the police department and the jail,’ DeVore’s letter reads.
She also told the sheriff’s association of the many programs now underway at the Harrison County Justice Center, including bringing back Residents Encountering Christ in which members of the community come into the jail to mentor inmates, partnering with county chaplains for The Butterfly Transformation House (a halfway home for women), the Clean Roads Program (inmates roadside trash pickup), an inmate vegetable garden, the Drug Take Back program and the Harrison County Citizens Police Academy.
The second in command at the sheriff’s department, Chief Wayne Kessinger, also submitted a letter for consideration.
Kessinger said the first order issued by Seelye at one minute past midnight on the evening he took office was to call for a patrol unit to meet him at the sheriff’s office.
‘He introduced himself to the officer and stated, ‘Let’s go. I’m riding with you during your tour of duty.’ During that tour of duty, Sheriff Seelye laid out what was expected of the officers and sought out what the officers were expecting of him,’ Kessinger said. ‘There was no question what direction the sheriff’s department was heading in after that initial ride-along.’
‘I think the thing I’m most proud of is that we have people in leadership positions and I feel very comfortable with them and their ability to handle situations as they arise,’ Seelye said. ‘I have a goal that I want us to be the best sheriff’s department in the state, and I think we have a good head start in reaching those goals.’