Sheriff Wagner Looks Back at Time in Office - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Sheriff Wagner Looks Back at Time in Office

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In two weeks, Sheriff Chuck Wagner will wrap up his time as sheriff of Rapides Parish. 

He's preparing to hand over the reigns back to the former sheriff, William Earl Hilton.

But before he goes, he sat down with News Channel Five's Brooke Buford for one last interview as sheriff.

At the end of the month, Rapides Parish Sheriff Chuck Wagner will turn in his badge and head out the door of the Rapides Parish court house.

"I ran to make sure I made a difference in our community and I've always said I would rather be a good sheriff for four years than a bad one for 20," he said. "I'll still go by that motto."

Wagner took office in 2008 when Sheriff William Earl Hilton retired. Four years after, Hilton wanted his job back.  And, he got it, beating Wagner in last year's election.

"Why do you retire and then come back? That's the big question that everybody has asked me," said Sheriff Wagner. "That's probably the most asked question that I've gotten since he got into the race." 

Wagner's trying not to hold any hard feelings, saying he was never a "politician." Instead, he's reflecting on all the good he says his office accomplished.

Some of that "good" he says includes ending his time with $9.4 million dollars in the bank for the sheriff's office. And, his crusade against drugs - averaging 1,000 arrests a year - even if it did cost him a few votes, he says.

"I'm all willing to help people," he said. "I was willing to help people help themselves. People come to me with their children that we've arrested on drugs and things like that. I'm willing to help them help themselves by getting with a judge sentence them, get them treatment and then let them work their way out. But, I'm not for just going and getting rid of it." 

Now, he'll work for himself.  He says he's starting up a financial planning and insurance business.

And, whether or not this sheriff will want his job back too in four years, that's still to be determined.

"It's something that I'm not going to put out of my mind," he said. "We'll have to see what the climate is like and what the people want at that time. I'm keeping my options open and we'll just see when that time comes and see how it unfolds."

Sheriff Wagner says many of his deputies have already left the office for new work elsewhere. And, he's not sure how much Sheriff Hilton is planning to clear house. 

Sheriff Hilton will be sworn in on June 29. He'll take office July 1.

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