CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) - Chesapeake Sheriff John R. Newhart is stepping down after more than 40 years on the job.
"Its a bittersweet situation. You have to know when its time to go," Newhart said.
He has served as Sheriff for 42 years and is one of the longest serving sheriffs in Virginia history and is the second-longest sheriff in the nation by his account. He started out on the Chesapeake Police Department.
Newhart has watched the city build a new jail, now housing an average of 1,200 inmates with 400 employees.
"In 1970, we had a total of 40 inmates and a total staff of 22 people," Newhart said.
Newhart says perhaps the most infamous inmate in the jail was convicted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo back in 2003.
"When we had the Malvo trial, we had 150 reporters from all over the world camped out on our steps and they were looking for us to do something wrong and we breezed right on through that 3-month trial," Newhart said.
He says he will leave the sheriff's office with few regrets.
"[I'm most proud of] The Elderly and the Indigent Victims of Crime program," Newhart said. "We can help people when they need help. Say that a home is broken into. We can replace locks on the door, give them grocery money, rent money until that next check comes in at no cost to the taxpayer."
The program was made possible through what Newhart called a cooperative effort between the sheriff's office staff and the community.
Newhart, 72, says age was a small issue of his decision to retire.
"The age is creeping up a little bit, but also I want to travel back over to Europe and different place I always wanted to go," Newhart said.
Colonel Jim O'Sullivan, currently under Sheriff at the jail, will replace Newhart. A swearing-in ceremony is set for Monday, Oct.1 at Chesapeake City Hall.
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