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Ed Durbin called it quits from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department after a 25-year career. His last working day was Feb. 26, although his last day on the books was Monday, March 15. His anniversary date was March 11.
Durbin, a life-long resident of Fayette County was raised in the St. Elmo area. He married his wife, Mona, when the couple were 21 and 19, respectively, and moved just south of the village. The couple has two children, Son Zack and wife Rhiannon, and grandson Henry, and daughter Megan, and husband Justin Schaal, and new grandson Ty.
After he was jobless, back in 1996, a friend of his told him the county was looking for help, and then-Sheriff Michael Kleinik, now Director of the Illinois Department of Labor, personally called him and told him he heard a rumor that Durbin was looking for a job.
“I received a week’s worth of training and before I knew it, I was the correctional facility guard,” Durbin laughed. He remained in that job for just over a year, when on July 4, 1997, he became a Fayette County Deputy. At that time his shift was from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and as he was the only one on duty, he also performed dispatch duties after 11 p.m.
“I had Friday and Saturday off work, and reported in at 10 p.m., so it was like having the whole weekend off,” he said.
He has farmed 400 acres with 30 head of cattle in rural St. Elmo, near Loogootee, as well as now 100 acres north of St. Elmo, which his father used to farm.
After his 25-year career, Durbin is quick to answer about a case or person who stands out in his mind.
He explained that he once arrested a young man, along with a couple of others. He had just come home from the military, and fell in with the wrong crowd.
“Every time he would come in he would make it a point to come and see me. Every time he sees me, he comes up and says, ‘You saved my life.’ If nothing else came of my career, that case is worth it,” Ed says.
Durbin has worked under four sheriffs in those 25 years – Kleinik, Harold Johnson, Aaron Lay and present sheriff, Chris Smith, retiring at the end of the month.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Durbin says, “I think it’s time to move on.”
He cited the Criminal Justice Reform Bill, recently signed by Governor J. B. Pritzker as one of the reasons for his retirement. He says he has worked too hard to lose what he has earned, as the bill leaves doubt as to whether officer immunity will remain intact.
“It’s time for those young fellas to have their turn,” Durbin said.
And just what does retirement hold for him?
“I am hoping to do some farming and not work seven days a week. I will also have more time to help with the grandkids,” Durbin says. He also says he will make time for hunting, especially coyotes and deer.