By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO March 18, 2005 After 44 years of law enforcement service, Sullivan County Sheriff Dan Hogue said yesterday he wanted to head out on top, rather than wait around too long.
Speaking to a large crowd of family, friends, and local politicians in Monticello, he spoke about the way he worked his way up to sheriff, from his days as a young boy in Pittsburgh to a graduate of Monticello High School, pumping gas, serving in the Army, and then 25 years in the Monticello Police Department, before joining the Sheriffs Department as undersheriff to legendary, longtime county Sheriff Joseph Wasser.
The widespread respect for Hogue was evident by the standing ovation he received from the crowd after announcing his retirement.
That announcement came on what would have been his parents 75th anniversary.
Hogue, a Forestburgh resident, served two terms as sheriff and said that, at 67 years old, he wanted to spend more time with his family.
The most emotional moment of the speech came when he recalled those who pushed him to succeed in school, including Dr. Bernie Jacobs, his history teacher, and Dr. Robert Kaiser, his math teacher.
He recalled with fondness his time spent working at the Texaco gas station for the McClernon family and his two years in the Army.
He had extremely kind words for Jack Sharoff, the former longtime Village of Monticello Police Chief, whom he called the greatest police chief who ever lived. He also gave thanks to the officers with whom he worked, including Les Smith. He said the department worked as a team.
Hogue also gave special thanks to the late Joe Wasser, who taught him how to run the Sheriffs Department and a campaign.
He expressed his love and appreciation for his family, including his wife. They will be celebrating their 45th anniversary next month.
Hogue said his career had been a mixture of good times and bad times. The not-so-nice included the investigations of murders, including babies, and the domestic violence cases frequently resulting from drug or alcohol abuse, as well as the deadly car accidents.
It weighs on you, he said.
As for the positive, he noted his creation of a family response team, increased road patrols, and his efforts to build a new jail.
He has made sure the Sullivan County Jail is 100 percent in compliance with regulations. Video cameras have been installed inside and outside, and all guards have radios. The civil department is so advanced that it educates outside sheriffs departments.
So why leave now? A movie he saw as a young child in Pittsburgh with his father led to this choice, he said. The Babe Ruth Story taught him not to stay on the job for too long, and hes looking forward to enjoying retirement with his wife and family.