After nearly a decade at the Clinton County Sheriff's Department and five-and-a-half years as sheriff, Larry Jerue will retire on April 29.
"I'm 68 years old, I've been doing this for 45 years," Jerue said. "Last Christmas, my wife and I were down visiting our grandchildren in Georgia...and it was a unanimous vote to have grandpa retire."
Undersheriff Fritz Sandberg is retired on the same day after 35 years with the Clinton County Sheriff's Department.
"Sheriff Jerue brought me in as his undersheriff five-and-a-half years ago, and I was so honored to be offered that opportunity," Sandberg said. "I just decided when he left, I was going to leave, and the timing's perfect."
Between them, they have 86 years in law enforcement.
"I think it's time for me to give back to my family and show them how much I've appreciated them being married to and the kids of a law enforcement officer, because it's tough," Sandberg said. "The whole family wears it. For the first time in 41 years, I've just going to be able to be dad and husband, and start a new chapter."
"I've been able to do everything I've ever wanted to do in law enforcement, and I've been very blessed and very fortunate," Jerue said. "I've had outstanding training and I've had great people to work with."
Jerue graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He spent 26 years at the Ann Arbor Police Department, followed by almost a decade as the police chief for the city of DeWitt.
He said while chief, he experienced one of the most trying cases of his career.
"I had a 3-year-old little girl that was murdered by her stepdad, and he had claimed that she had fallen down some steps, and things just didn't add up...I remember when I went in, there was 12 steps from the top of the landing to the bottom, and it was all padded and it was all carpeted. I thought it was really unusual that there were no rug burns," Jerue said. "I said, 'You need to get this off your chest. You need to help me help you.' He finally started crying and he said, 'Oh this is what I did.'"
Jerue said the man ultimately pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
It isn't just the cases they've solved that will stick with them, however.
"I only have one regret in my whole 40 years," Sandberg said. "I worked a double-homicide case back in 2006 that's still unsolved. That's the Heftons, and I just wish we would've put closure to that before I retired. We've never looked at that case as a cold case, as we're still working tips on it today."
There is also one little girl that Jerue will always remember from his time at Clinton County, Alexis Schueller.
"When I look at the things I've been able to do, I've been able to make a difference in people's lives," Jerue said. "She had cancer, and we kind of adopted her as our agency—our agency did—and she and I became very, very close. She actually called me her boyfriend."
In 2018, the department raised $2,500 for Schueller. She passed away that same year.
"We in law enforcement have to make a professional impact, and we also have to be human and be able to reach out and change somebody's life and make a difference in their world, and I think those are the things that, when I think of my own personal accomplishments, I really lived by that creed," Jerue said. "I'm proud of all the places I've ever worked. This agency is truly a family-type setting. I'm not retiring because I'm frustrated or disillusioned. I have a few minor health issues that I have to look after."
"Clinton County is going to be in good hands," Sandberg said. "But, Sheriff Jerue walking out the door is going to leave a huge void. He is the consummate professional. There's not another law enforcement officer I've ever met with the integrity that Sheriff Jerue's had. His honesty, his compassion, his fairness are just second to none."
Jerue will be moving to Missouri to be closer to his family.
Sandberg is going to live on a boat on Lake Michigan for five months.
Detective Lt. Sean Dush will finish out Jerue's last two years of Jerue's term.
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