Sheriff Tom Grills has submitted his resignation from the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office effective April 1.
Grills, 38, was first elected sheriff in 2006 and has led the law enforcement agency for nearly eight years. Due to state statute, a sheriff in Indiana can serve just two consecutive 4-year terms before reaching the end of term limit. Prior to the announcement, he would have officially been relieved of sheriff duties on December 31.
Before beginning a law enforcement career, Grills graduated from East Central High School and received degrees from Vincennes and Ball State University. Those college diplomas are proudly displayed in his office, flanked by law enforcement achievements, John Deere memorabilia, a deer mount and photographs of family.
He reflected on his tenure as sheriff from his desk Tuesday.In nearly eight years, he substantially increased the amount of deputy training, along with the implementation of advanced technology including in-car cameras, Nixle and a redeveloped agency website.
The sheriff explained the early departure from office is due to a job opportunity.
“I have enjoyed being Sheriff of Ripley County for the last seven years and three months, but have been offered a great opportunity in the private sector with this being my last year of my second term as Ripley County Sheriff,” Grills said.
Grills would be eligible to run for sheriff again in 2018. He did not rule out a return to law enforcement in the future.
“I have always known there would be a time I would seriously have to consider transitioning from public safety,” said Grills.“Being elected the Ripley County Sheriff has been the highest goal of my professional law enforcement career. I have been honored to serve and protect citizens of Ripley County and the State of Indiana.”
The office has dealt with its fair share of difficulties during his tenure. Grills noted,“I just wish there was more teamwork and more professional interaction between elected officials over serious matters.”
Ripley County Council member Mark Horstman commented Tuesday on the sheriff’s departure.
“It’s a shame Sheriff Grills had to leave this early with just six months or so on his term,” Horstman said. “Ripley County appreciates all of his years of service and wish him the best of luck.”
The resignation comes just a month before the May Primary as three republicans and two democrats are vying for the sheriff’s seat. County officials indicated that a caucus may be held within the next 30 days for a replacement.
Grills is retiring from the position, but due to state statute for constitutionally elected officials, he was required to send a resignation letter.