John Wayne Sheible, the previous police chief of New Haven, retired this spring. He had been the New Haven chief since January 8, 1996, when he was asked to run by citizens in 1995.
He graduated New Haven High School in 1966 and went on to attend CMU, Central Methodist College, and finished with a Bachelor's degree in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Psychology. In 1969, he married his wife, Janet, who has been with him ever since. In September of 1970, he joined the Air Force and was trained as a Weather Equipment Repairman. He left the Air Force in 1974.
That summer, he was laid off his first job-- the economy was going through a recession, so finding a job was hard. John Wayne said that he was helping Ron Willimann put a roof on the old Pepsi building when Ernie Alexander, the chief of the newly formed New Haven Police Department, told him they were looking for an officer for the department. Ron convinced John to take the job and he started right away.
Mr. Sheible then attended the Tri-County Academy, where he was trained for 640 hours. He graduated #1 in his class.
In 1978, however, he left the police department for a job with Shelter Insurance-- having a young family, he couldn’t survive on the money he was being paid. He did remain on the Franklin County Sheriff’s Reserve for another five years.
In 1995, he was contacted and asked to consider the position of the Chief of Police in New Haven when the current chief was resigning. On January 8, 1996, he was hired and started working as the new Chief of Police.
John said that he “initially chose to become a police officer because I needed a job, and at 27 years old, it sounded pretty exciting. What other job lets you carry a gun, drive fast and arrest bad guys!”
He was asked why he came back to the New Haven community. He responded, “In 1996, at 45 years of age, I came back because of several things. I felt the department was a wreck and that I could change it back to what it had been when I was there before. The department seemed to be ‘apart’ from the community, and I was determined that it would become ‘a part of the community’ again. I also still liked carrying a gun, driving fast and arresting bad guys.”
“Serving as chief was difficult on many occasions. Heartbreaking on many occasions. Extremely exciting on many occasions. Above all the most fulfilling career I could have ever imagined.”
What does Chief Sheible do now that he is retired?
“Whatever I feel like doing! Chasing grandkids around in all of their sports programs is fun and takes quite a bit of my time. Also, I plan on doing more traveling around the country.”
Chief Sheible also stated how he feels about the new changes to the New Haven Police Department: “I only come into town once or twice a week and I have made it a point to stay away from the PD and City Hall, so, I don't have a lot of info on what the PD is doing right now. I do believe the change that has been made in the command structure is a good thing. Dan and I tried many different ways to allow 12 hour shifts. With the manpower we had and the command structure, we could not make it work. With the replacement of the Assistant Chief position with two sergeants, he can run two squads of three officers and 12 hour shift will work. Dan deserves credit for that.”
John Wayne Sheible has been a huge part of our local community, and he will not be forgotten for all the contributions he made. On behalf of the community, I would like to thank Mr. Sheible for his service to our community.