Tree Dedicated To Former Sheriff

Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon pulls the cover off the rock bearing former Sheriff Larry Longworth’s name.
By: 
TERESA DOWLING and AJ HECHT
Staff Writer

The late Larry Longsworth left quite the mark on Auglaize County, where he was sheriff from 1989 to 2005. In fact, the sheriff’s current home — The Auglaize County Law Enforcement Center — is a testament to that tremendous impact.

“There were others on committees but Sheriff Longsworth had the most headaches,” current Sheriff Al Soloman said. “[He] moved us from a building we had been in since dirt, hired new employees for new positions, etc.”

So on a clear, sunny, Thursday afternoon, Solomon, deputies, Longsworth’s family and a crowd of those that knew, admired and loved Longsworth gathered outside the center to pay tribute to his tireless service to the county.

During the short ceremony, Solomon unveiled a newly planted tree, as well as rock from the Longsworth farm, inscribed with Longsworth’s name, sitting prominently in front of the Sheriff’s Office. 

“We’ll keep this short, out of respect for the boss, as he wouldn’t want it any other way,” Solomon said to the crowd. “He was never one to make a big show. 

“Everyone knows what Sheriff Longsworth meant to myself and others here today. We’re here today to make sure his efforts are not forgotten.”

Longsworth, who passed away in 2012, was a 1968 graduate of Wapakoneta High School and decorated veteran of the Vietnam War before joining the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office, where he worked for 31 years. 

“When Larry came to the sheriff’s office, I think he was 21 or 22 years of age,” said retired Sheriff James Knoch, who first hired Longsworth. “He was a good deputy, he was a good investigator and he was a hell of a sheriff, that’s for sure.” 

And in those 31 years — 16 as sheriff — Longsworth did a lot more than just help get the new Law Enforcement Center built. 

Over the course of his tenure, he helped oversee the creation of the Grand Lake Task Force, Special Response Team and was instrumental in bring the DARE program to all schools in the county.

He had just as much impact at home, too, not only with his family, represented by wife Janice Longsworth and their children, Aaron — and his wife Alicia — and Missy, on Thursday, but on his property, making the tree an apt tribute. 

“Every day is a good day when you can talk about Larry,” Janice Longsworth began. “It’s an honor that Larry is being recognized in this special way.

“He planted all of the trees on our property, probably around 100 pine trees,” Longsworth said. “It’s a perfect thing to remember him by. He would have liked that tree.”

“But there wasn’t a day gone by that I didn’t tell somebody he was sheriff,” she continued.

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