TUSCOLA — Saying he wants to spend more time doing woodworking, going fishing and traveling around the country, longtime Douglas County sheriff Charlie McGrew announced on Monday he will not seek a fourth term as sheriff.
"It is time for me to step aside and allow a younger person to experience the satisfaction of serving the people of Douglas County as their sheriff," said McGrew, 65, of Arcola.
McGrew, who began his duties as sheriff on Dec. 1, 2004, said he plans to remain in office until his term ends on Nov. 30, 2014.
"It has been a privilege to get to help people in all different parts of their lives, from young children to senior citizens," he said. "I've enjoyed every day being sheriff. I have been fortunate to be able to say, 'I get to go to work today,' not 'I have to go to work today.'"
McGrew said his top achievements during his time as sheriff have been stemming the growth of the production and use of methamphetamine and increasing rural patrols.
"I believe we made a lot of headway investigating and prosecuting the production and use of methamphetamine here in Douglas County," said McGrew, a former head of the East Central Illinois Drug Task Force.
McGrew said one of his priorities has been increasing patrols to combat rural thefts and burglaries to farms and businesses.
"We also established a rural crime watch," McGrew said. "We are going to continue to do more in that area in my remaining time as sheriff."
McGrew, a Vietnam veteran, was employed with the Illinois State Police for about 30 years in a couple of different stints before becoming sheriff. He began his career in 1969 as a trooper and worked seven years on the road before transferring to investigations, where he spent 18 years.
When he left the state police, he was the assistant commander for Zone 10, working out of Champaign. That office was responsible for 10 counties in central Illinois and had about 45 investigators and civilians, McGrew said.