One voice for the Office of Sheriff

Deputy Sheriff

Sheriff of the Year

2015 Ferris E. Lucas Sheriff of the Year
Sheriff John Lenhart
Shelby County, Ohio


Sheriff Lenhart served five terms as Shelby County Sheriff before retiring in 1991, after which he went on to hold several state positions in law enforcement. In 2010, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office went through a very traumatic time when the sitting sheriff was indicted and eventually removed from office. The sheriff’s office had lost the respect and trust of the citizens. At the time John Lenhart was helping to find someone to replace the sheriff and it was at this time that it was stated that there was only one person who could fill the seat and restore honor to the office; when asked who that could be, the finger was pointed to John Lenhart. John was eventually appointed as sheriff and fulfilled the remainder of the term and would run and be elected as sheriff of Shelby County with a landslide victory.

Sheriff Lenhart restored the integrity, respect, and honor to the office of sheriff and has stood firm against all those who tried to tear apart the pride his deputies have for the uniform they wear. 

Sheriff Lenhart trained approximately 125 school teachers for their CCW, with his deputies writing the curriculum and lesson plans for the program. Not only did the teachers receive training in the classroom, but also went through extensive firearms training on the range. This program is the first of its kind in the state of Ohio, the program allows for teachers to become part of the “response team” to active shooters in the schools. 

He has placed seven of his deputies in Sidney City Schools to not only provide security but also serve as mentors to the students by teaching math, reading, and other subjects in the classroom.

Three of his staff has also been trained as instructors in ALICE, which has also been taught in in each of the county schools and every county office.

In addition to his work on school safety, Sheriff Lenhart has worked hard to find ways to generate more money for his office during some hard fiscal times. The programs include, housing federal inmates, city work program, Ohio Department of Transportation work program, Metropolitan Housing work program, and various other projects. These projects allowed Sheriff Lenhart to give his staff a raise for the first time in five years.

Sheriff Lenhart has spent many years in law enforcement, but he is also a farmer who works hard on his farm along with his family. He has brought those skills to the Shelby County Jail and started a garden that is used to help supply fresh produce to the jail’s food services as well as giving inmates the opportunity to learn about gardening.

Sheriff Lenhart’s wisdom and advice are often requested by those who know him and even by those who do not because everyone knows that when they talk to him, their confidence will be respected, they will receive good advice, and they know that he will tell it like it is in a respectful way, that is his trademark. 


The National Sheriffs' Association established the Ferris E. Lucas award in 1995 to recognize an outstanding sheriff of the year for contributions made to improve the Office of Sheriff on the local, state, and national levels, and for involvement in the community above and beyond the responsibilities required. The award is given in memory of Ferris E. Lucas, NSA Past President (1944-46) and executive director (1964-82), who completed 50 years of distinguished service and leadership in law enforcement.

This award is sponsored by Pursuit Products, Inc.

Previous Winners

1995   Bob E. Rice - Polk County, WI

1996   Charles A. Fuselier - St. Matin Parish, LA

1997   John R. Newhart - City of Chesapeake, VA

1998   Tim Hutchison - Knox County, TN

1999   Bill Hutson - Cobb County, GA

2000   Stanley Glanz - Tulsa County, OK

2001   Patrick Sullivan, Jr. - rapahoe County, CO

2002   Bob Garvey - North Hampton, MA

2003   Kevin Beary - Orange County, FL

2004   Dave Reichert - King County, WA

2005   Patrick McGowan - Hennepin County, MN

2006   Joseph W. Oxley - Monmouth County, NJ

2007   Edmund M. "Ted" Sexton, Sr. - Tuscaloosa County, AL

2008   John Cary Bittick - Monroe County, GA

2009   Mark H. Luttrell, Jr. - Shelby County, TN

2010   Jerry "Peanuts" Gaines - Warren County, KY

2011   Paul Babeu - Pinal County, AZ

2012   Paul D. Laney - Cass County, ND

2013   Leroy Baca - Los Angeles County, CA

2014  Doug Gillespie - Clark County, NV