By Nancy Huth
We know he deserves it, but we hate to see him go. Sheriff Dan McClelland will retire as of Jan. 1, 2017. His faithful police dog Midge*, a cross between a Chihuahua and a Rat Terrier, who joined the force when she was just 10 weeks old, is now 11 and will retire with him. At the recent Jail Ministry Banquet, Sheriff Dan spoke about the type of work to which he has dedicated his life.“ A police officer’s job is never routine,” he stressed. The police are on duty 24/7, 365 days a year.
They go to work when others are going home and work various shifts. Dan remembers missing many holidays. It was eight years before he even had part of Christmas off. When disaster strikes, such as a tornado warning, the police must be on duty. When everyone else is running away, a policeman must run in. Since 1976 when Dan started working for the police force, 7,000 policemen had lost their lives nationwide. Sadly, this year alone 120 have died. Dan McClelland is a 1971 graduate of Chardon High School and a long time resident of the town.
His wife Beverly and he have been married almost 45 years and have three children and six grandchildren. He has served more than 40 years as a member of the Sheriff’s office in Geauga County. “Over the years I have served in every rank at the Sheriff’s Department beginning as a deputy in 1976,” he said proudly. “In 2003, I was unanimously appointed by the Geauga County Board of Commissioners as the Geauga County Sheriff and successfully sought re-election to a full term in 2004, 2008, and 2012.” Dan is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Virginia and has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Akron. The list of professional, civic and charitable associations to which he belongs would fill a whole page. He has received many honors over the years. Chardon Alumni Hall of Fame has honored him for lifetime and career accomplishments.
Among his many awards is one for clearing a major burglary ring involving 20 residences and 18 suspects in 1983. In his speech at the recent Jail Ministry Banquet, Sheriff Dan also pointed out that police officers are proud to serve in their communities and there is no greater pride than putting on the uniform for the first time and going to work. Police are often in situations where they must speak for a victim who cannot speak. There are many opportunities for a policeman to learn every day. There are mental and physical challenges, such as new laws on the books, new techniques and new technology (and we all know how hard that is to learn). There is the unique challenge of learning to deal with pain, such as the pain from an injury or the most difficult of all, having to tell someone about a death in their family. Police are called on to save lives or stop violence. There is traffic safety to monitor and sometimes the necessity of putting someone in jail, but sometimes being incarcerated saves that person’s life. Sheriff Dan, we wish you many years of happy (uneventful) retirement and thank you for your service.
*Midge is certified by the Guinness World’s Records as the worlds’ smallest police dog. She weighs in at only 8 pounds but packs quite a punch when it comes to finding drugs. She began her narcotic training at three and a half months and passed her certification test administered by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office becoming an official narcotics dog only one day after her first birthday. Midge has become an international celebrity with television appearances all over the United States and even the world. Midge gets fan mail from Europe, China, South Africa and even South America. Even the United States Military has called about her.