Harvel’s service as sheriff comes to an end on Monday
In mid-June, Scott Harvel announced his plans to retire as the sheriff of Union County.
Harvel’s service as the county’s sheriff officially came to an end on Monday, Aug. 2. He had served as Union County’s sheriff for the past six and a half years.
He was succeeded in the post by former Anna Police Chief Dale Foster.
Foster took the oath of office as sheriff Monday morning during a ceremony at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.
The former sheriff informed the people of Union County about his plans in a statement which he issued on June 15.
Harvel said that “after 34 years of service to this county I have decided to retire on August 2, 2021. This has been a very difficult decision for me to make, but with the recent passing of the Police and Criminal Justice Reform Bill (HB 3653) I feel the time has come.”
He explained that the Police and Criminal Justice Reform Act was signed into law in February by Gov. JB Pritzker and took effect on July 1.
“The law mandates significant changes that bring extreme challenges to law enforcement agencies throughout the state to effectively police their communities,” Harvel stated.
“Undoubtedly, there are portions of this new law that will address change. However, advocates for this new law claim many of the provisions within the reform act will provide safer communities and a safer environment for police officers.”
“I adamantly disagree with this belief which is why I have chosen to retire as Sheriff. I feel these changes will greatly affect policing in the future and impede my ability to perform my duties as Sheriff,” he continued.
At the time, Harvel said that “first and foremost I give praise to God for the opportunity that He has given me to serve as Sheriff.”
He also thanked “the men and women of the Union County Sheriff’s Office for your commitment and dedication to serve this community. You are the finest example of true professionals which makes this Sheriff’s Office one of the premiere law enforcement agencies in the state. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work with you and I wish you well in your career goals.”
He closed the announcement by sharing a farewell to his supporters and colleagues.
“It has been an honor to serve as your Sheriff. As I enter a new chapter of my life I will enjoy seeing you around town and reflecting on shared times.”
The former sheriff began work in March of 1987 for the county as a jailer/dispatcher. After service with the Anna Police Department, he returned to the Union County Sheriff’s Office in August of 1992. He was first elected as sheriff in 2014.
A key challenge since early 2020 has been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had to take a new approach to a lot of things,” he said.
The pandemic was just one challenge facing law enforcement personnel during what has proven to be a stressful time.
Harvel said it had been his dream to work in law enforcement. He said he enjoyed many aspects of the job of sheriff.
“I just loved being here for the people,” he said during a telephone interview last Friday morning. “I am so thankful for their support.”
Harvel said he will miss the people at the sheriff’s office...and those in the Union County community. He won’t miss the stress which goes with the job.
His retirement plans include traveling...perhaps going somewhere warm during the winter.