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HCCSC adds Stoffel to staff

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

Huntington County Sheriff Terry Stoffel will greet students taking Huntington County Community School Corporations’ new criminal justice courses, this year, as his term as sheriff comes to an end.

Lone sheriff candidate and current Chief Deputy Chris Newton will likely take Stoffel’s place, since Stoffel reaches his term limit at the end of the year.

As of January 6, 2019, Stoffel will become a part-time school resource officer, along with continuing as a part-time criminal justice instructor at Huntington North High School. During the 2019-2020 school year, the plan is to have Stoffel become a full-time instructor for the district.

Stoffel said Assistant Superintendent Chad Daugherty reached out to him about the position because of Stoffel’s level of experience in the field, which includes eight years as top officer in both the Huntington Police Department and Huntington County Sheriff’s Department. At the time, Stoffel was fielding numerous opportunities, but after Daugherty called, it clicked.

“Chad nailed it. It was a perfect fit for Terry Stoffel. It was absolutely where I needed to be,” Stoffel said, “Yes, there was some talk about running for Mayor – and I really had thought about that – but this was just a fit that is really where I belong.”

Stoffel is not a stranger in the classroom. For 24 years, Stoffel has taught D.A.R.E. classes to every grade level from kindergarten through eighth grade. Stoffel has also stayed involved with Huntington North High School through working basketball and football games and being a line judge for volleyball.

Stoffel said he’s excited to teach the kids what he’s learned over the years. He said he plans to go over the pros and cons of the job, how the good outweighs the bad, what makes a good officer and most importantly, integrity.

When Stoffel used to work at Bob’s Finer Foods in Huntington, he said Bob taught him that they already had the cheapest prices, so all they have to do is sell friendliness.

He wants to show his class how they can better help the community by doing things in a positive way that reflects well on the community.

“I have not had a whole lot of confrontations in my career that we couldn’t deescalate by talking and getting them to calm down,” Stoffel said. “You don’t have to jump – sometimes yes – but most of the time just talking to somebody and getting them to calm down and being sympathetic with them can get it from turning violent.”

While Stoffel is still sheriff, he said he will adjust his schedule to fit the part-time teaching position. He’s planning to come in to the department earlier, and stopping back in after class is out.

Stoffel said he’s going to miss being sheriff, but he’s excited to start a new path.

“I am excited,” Stoffel said. “I am really excited. It’s time to hand the torch over and let someone with a little more youth take over. He’s full of energy, which excites me to get excited about my job. I truly, truly loved when I went in to the school corporation as many years as I was. It was just a passion of mine.”

Stoffel said he’s passing along what he’s learned to Newton, and he said, “Chris is absolutely ready for anything that gets thrown at him.”

The biggest problem, which a lot of counties are dealing with, will be the jail.

“The jail will present some kind of struggles for anybody, even if I was back in there – with the overcrowding and what’s the right answer,” Stoffel said. “The wild card is, we don’t know what legislature’s gonna do.”