A familiar face: Former sheriff returns to department to help serve court


There has been a familiar face making his way around the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department lately.

That would be former Sheriff Jerry Hounshel, 66, of Vallonia, who was hired as the new special deputy to serve court documents for the department.

Sheriff Rick Meyer converted the position to a civil position when he entered office in an effort to put another deputy on the road.

He approached Hounshel several times about the job, thinking he would be a perfect fit. Hounshel said he was a little reluctant at first but decided he was at a place in life where he could.

“It was honorable to be asked to come back,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d be back here in my wildest dreams.”

Hounshel last worked for the department Dec. 31, 2006, when his term as sheriff expired before Sheriff Marc Lahrman was sworn into office.

A two-term sheriff, Hounshel had a 30-year career with the department, starting Jan. 1, 1977. He served as sheriff from Jan. 1, 1998, until 2006.

During his time away from the department, Hounshel was a two-term county commissioner and worked on some real estate investments.

“I would flip houses, and that was something I enjoyed because it’s a little relaxing to run a bulldozer or chainsaw and let the world go by,” he said.

Hounshel also purchased some farm ground he had to get ready.

“There’s always something to do on a piece of farm ground,” he said.

Hounshel now spends his day processing and serving court documents that need delivered by civil and criminal courts.

Each document is sorted, stamped to show they’ve been received and stamped again when they’re delivered.

Copies go to the recipient, the court and to the department.

“It’s anything that comes out of our courts,” he said. “And not just our county, but ones that come here from other counties and states.”

As a special deputy, Hounshel has police powers. Some of the court service involves potentially tense situations, like restraining orders. Those situations call for another officer to help.

Hounshel said the job is not something someone off the street could do and would be different for anyone who was not familiar with law enforcement.

“It takes an understanding of how to do it, but it would be hard to do it without training,” he said, adding he quickly realized the amount of work has grown since he last served papers 25 years ago. “The philosophy is the same even though the workload has probably tripled.”

It only took him a few days to get adjusted and becoming familiar with it again. The volume of work has surprised him, and he said organization is key to the position. He has been spending time establishing his own system to processing the paperwork to get it organized the way it makes sense to him.

“With this job, you have to be organized because you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt,” he said.

Hounshel said he made it clear to everyone at the department that he understands his role. He said it was important for everyone to understand he was not there to make the decisions for the department like he did during his time as sheriff.

“I’m not here to look over anyone’s shoulder or tell them what to do,” he said. “I’m here to serve papers, but if I can be a resource of any kind to anybody, I’ve told everyone just to peck me on the shoulder and I can give them my opinion.”

Hounshel did notice he hired many of the people who work at the department, which is something he looks at with pride.

“I hired a lot of these guys,” he said. “It’s an honor to know the people I handpicked all those years ago are still here and are now running this place.”

No posts to display