Passing the Torch

Too often it is all too true, that phrase that rings with regret, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” But Fairfield County did know, we think, what they’ve had at the top of their Sheriff’s Office for the last 22 years, and Herman Young’s six consecutive successful bids for that office seem to bear that out. With Young’s announcement this week that he will be stepping down from office, this ‘off-year’ election season just got a lot more interesting – and a lot more critical.

Young guided the county’s top law enforcement office into the 21st century and did so without a lot of pomp and circumstance. Young’s Sheriff’s Office has never been what one might call a Media Hog, falling all over itself to rush in front of the TV cameras and microphones every time a case was broken, but neither have they been what one might consider a ‘covert’ office, intentionally shielding the media from vital public information. Indeed, as far as relations with the press are concerned, Young and the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office have been a reporter’s dream; the textbook example of How it Should be Done.

No public office, so long as the Human Element is involved, is ever perfect. Such are the ways of Man. Nevertheless, under Young’s leadership the Sheriff’s Office has handled its various ups and downs with absolute professionalism.

Now in his 72nd year on Earth, Young faces his greatest challenge, that of personal health-related issues that finally seem to have slowed him down. After serving and giving back to the county that bore him for more than 40 years, Young finally has to look after Number One. We wish him and his family the very best as they face this challenge, and we trust Fairfield County will keep them in their collective prayers.

In the coming months, Fairfield County will have a very tough decision to make in choosing a successor for a man like Herman Young. A number of good candidates, all of whom were likely taken off guard by Young’s announcement this week, are on the radar and even more will undoubtedly throw their hats into the ring when filing opens in two weeks. Voters should weigh them and measure them all carefully over the weeks and months to come, choosing, hopefully, a successor as devoted and dedicated to serving and protecting Fairfield County as was Young.

So long, Herman. You were and remain one of the Good Guys. And you’re going to be a tough act to follow.