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Juneau County’s longest serving deputy retired Jan. 6 after 27 years of service.

Steve Tully first began working for the Juneau County Sheriff’s Department Jan. 7, 1992. Department staff lined the halls as Tully left work the night before he officially retired.

“I’d never seen anything like that before,” Tully said. “They had damn near everybody including some off duty people that were lined up from the door all the way across the parking lot. Mauston Police Department was out there, all saluting.”

Tully turned in his law enforcement equipment to Juneau County Sheriff Brent Oleson Jan. 7.

“He was our most senior officer here,” Oleson said. “And pretty much knew every facet of the jail… he knew all the areas very well. And he knew deputies, if they needed a question answered he would answer it.”

Tully began his career in law enforcement after he took a part time water patrol position while he was working for a local highway department.

“After that, they had two constable positions down there, I ran for one of them,” Tully said. “Then I became more involved.”

From there, Tully enrolled Milwaukee Area Technical College and took night classes for two years while pursuing his law enforcement certification. He went on to work two years at the Racine County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy.

“Racine County was not where I wanted to be,” Tully said. “I wanted a more rural setting, so I applied up here.” Tully had no personal connections in Juneau County at the time.

Most of Tully’s time on duty was spent in the jail. As the longest serving deputy, Tully often encountered newer deputies who were also working in the jail and eager to get out on patrol.

“They’re goal is to get that road,” Tully said. “Take pride in your job and what you’re doing now because that pride will carry over when you get to the road… If you can deal with these people in here in a civil manner, you can deal with those people out on the road.”

Tully also advised others working in law enforcement to do their best not to take work home with them.

“Divorce rates among law enforcement are extremely high,” Tully said. “It’s just not good.”

“I’ve never seen such a phenomenal acknowledgement,” Tully said of the way the sheriff’s department celebrated his career.

Tully’s immediate plans for retirement include riding his motorcycle and fishing. “I want to see some country,” Tully said. “I’m going to get out of Wisconsin for a while on a bike. I’m going to south and see New Orleans, I’m going to go west and see some country.”

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl or contact him at 608-697-6353


Juneau County Star-Times reporter