NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – New Kent County Sheriff J. Joseph McLaughlin, Jr. released a statement Wednesday announcing that he will be retiring from his current position.

In a Facebook statement, Sheriff McLaughlin announced that he will be officially retiring on December 31, 2023, after working for New Kent County’s police department for over 42 years.

“I have been blessed to serve this community as a member of the New Kent Sheriff’s Office since being first appointed by my friend and retired Sheriff F. W. (Wakie) Howard, Jr., in June of 1981. This has been a humbling experience and I am so unbelievably proud to have lived, grown, prayed, played, and been allowed to work in this tremendous community,” Sheriff McLaughlin said in his official statement.

This announcement comes eight months before the county’s general election for sheriff. Had Sheriff McLaughlin run, he would have had a chance to be re-elected for his third term. His first term was in January 2016.

Sheriff McLaughlin also plans to support Chief Deputy Lee S. Bailey as he prepares to become New Kent County’s next Sheriff. Until then, he promises to serve the community to the best of his ability.