By Linda Collins
For Greene County News
MAD RIVER TOWNSHIP — The Mad River Township Board of Trustees bided a fond farewell to departing Township Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Wise.
Township voters rejected a 0.8-mill replacement levy on the ballot Nov. 8 aimed at providing continuous police services for the next five years. The defeated measure will now leave township residents and local businesses without a sheriff’s deputy permanently assigned to the area after Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Upon presenting an appreciation plaque to Wise during the Monday, Dec. 19 township meeting, Township Trustee President Robert McClure Jr. called Wise an exceptional deputy and described his impact on the community as immeasurable.
“Sadly, you are going to be missed. You have served us well in all aspects of the job,” McClure told Wise. “We have received many compliments about you during the four and a half years you have served the township, and you have always been an easy guy to deal with. We have known you all your life, and you have become a great public servant.”
McClure also stated that many officials of the Greenon Local School District had spoken highly of the deputy and his policing efforts throughout the years. Township Trustee Kathy Estep said Wise has epitomized what dedicated service is all about.
“You know the area so well and have continuously provided us with excellent service. You have also been there for the township residents whenever they needed you,” Estep said. “We are very sad to lose you.”
According to Township Trustee Joe Catanzaro, the trustees will “moth ball” the township deputy’s cruiser for the time being in hopes that township voters will approve another police levy proposal in 2017. However, if approved, the levy would not commence until the following year.
“Needless to say, we were shocked when the levy didn’t pass,” Catanzaro said. “It is a long time to go without a deputy assigned to patrol our township.”
Wise, a lifelong resident of Mad River Township and a 1991 Greenon High School graduate, started his career in law enforcement in February 1994 as a police officer with the Village of Enon. While working for the village police department, Wise also worked as an uncompensated deputy for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and was eventually hired as a fulltime sheriff’s deputy in April 1999.
During his career with the sheriff’s office, Wise has worked in the Jail Division, New Carlisle Uniform Patrol Division, and the County Uniform Patrol Division.
Since he was permanently assigned to the township in July 2012, Wise is credited with a wide-ranging list of accomplishments. During his first year as township sheriff’s deputy, Wise revised and upgraded the school safety plan for the Greenon School District and continued to revise and update the plan over the years.
The deputy also played a major role, along with Enon Police Officer Dwight Phillip, in maintaining the Enon/Mad River Township Crime Watch Program and establishing Enon Mad River Township Crime Watch Facebook page with the help of Enon resident Ken Erdman.
Wise, who is a strong proponent of breast cancer awareness, played an instrumental role in transforming the township deputy’s cruiser into a pink wrapped vehicle at no cost to the township. The deputy’s goal is to raise awareness and funding in the fight against breast cancer.
“With the generous donations from township business owners, I was able to collect enough money to purchase the pink decals and also make a donation, in the name of Mad River Township, to the Pink Ribbon Girls,” said Wise.
The deputy has also driven the pink-wrapped cruiser to various events throughout Clark County and surrounding counties in an effort to show his support for all breast cancer survivors and the ongoing fight against breast cancer.
“I attended the events on my personal time, and I believe the cruiser has displayed an extremely positive image, not only for the township and the county sheriff’s office, but for law enforcement in general,” Wise said.
One of the deputy’s biggest accomplishments has been the annual “Heroes vs. Breast Cancer” softball tournament, which has raised funds for the Pink Ribbon Girls. The tournament, which Wise first established in 2015, has grown from a single game between Clark County sheriff’s deputies and the Enon/Mad River Township Fire and EMS Department the first year, to eight teams competing in a one-day tournament in 2016. Wise is already making plans to increase the number of teams competing in the annual event and to extend the softball tournament to two days in 2017.
This year, Wise partnered with Enon McDonalds, 7521 Dayton Springfield Road, and held the first “Breakfast with the Badges” event. The deputy said he hopes to continue the community outreach program next year.
“I have made many strong relationships with township businesses and residents that hopefully will never be lost,” Wise said. “I have a personal connection with this township. This is my home.”
According to the deputy’s wife, Ellen “Susie” Wise, her husband’s devotion to the job extends beyond his daily shift.
“People have come to the door of our home asking for help, and Jeff has gotten out of bed to attend to their needs. It has always been his township, and he takes ownership of it,” said Wise.
Estep said the township is planning to place the police levy on the May primary ballot. However, at the end of the month, Wise will return to the county sheriff’s department for reassignment, and one officer in the county patrol division will patrol the township to Snider Road each shift, along with all the area west of Route 68 from the Greene County line to the Champaign County line, including a part of German Township. The large patrol area also encompasses the region in the county that lies south of the Mad River.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.