Clinton police chief retiring
CLINTON Clinton Police Chief Jim Korth has been a police officer 39 years, but that's only counting his official service.
He's been a police officer in his heart and mind since middle school, when a teacher got him interested in the Delavan Police Department's Explorer's Post.
This May, Korth will resign after 32 years as chief of police in Clinton.
His unofficial fieldwork started when he joined the Delavan Explorer's Post. Officers took youngsters with them on the job. It was a good place to see the challenges of rural policing and get a taste for public service.
"We were cadets—it was a volunteer kind of thing," Korth said.
When he was a little older, his work with the Explorer Post led to a work-study job.
"The last hour of the school day I worked at the police department for credits," Korth said.
After attending the police academy at Blackhawk Technical College, started work at the Clinton Police Department.
He was 18.
He served almost his whole career in Clinton and most of it as chief.
From 1974 to 1979, he was an officer in Clinton. He left in 1979 to serve as police chief in the town of Turtle, but he returned to Clinton in 1981 to become chief.
Korth said he never yearned for greener—or larger—pastures.
"Clinton's my home," Korth said. "I was raised here. I went to school here."
Clinton isn't the same place it used to be.
"I think when I first started as chief, pretty much everybody knew everybody else," Korth said. "Now, you rarely know the person up the block from you."
Still, he describes himself as "proud of the small-town atmosphere," both in his community and in his department.
Korth was planning to retire when he was 52. He's now 57.
He plans to do part-time security work in the area, and he plans to stay in his hometown.
That's not surprising because they've been the key to his success.
"I always got along well with people, I always love the people here," Korth said.