Head of Wis. Department of Corrections retires

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The head of Wisconsin's Department of Corrections is retiring after 45 years in public service.

Gov. Scott Walker appointed Gary Hamblin the DOC secretary last year. Walker's office released a statement Friday thanking Hamblin for his service and leadership.

Early in his career Hamblin was a deputy sheriff in Sawyer County. Then he spent 29 years as a special agent in the state Department of Justice.

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson appointed Hamblin sheriff of Dane County in 1997. He was re-elected as sheriff three times before retiring in 2007.

He didn't stay retired long. A month later, state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked him to help run the DOJ's Division of Law Enforcement Services. Hamblin remained in that role until Walker appointed him to lead the corrections department.

Department of Corrections News Release:

WI Department of Corrections Secretary Hamblin Stepping Down
DOC Secretary Gary Hamblin Announces He Will Retire Next Month

WI Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Gary Hamblin has announced he will retire October 26, 2012, due to family health issues.

Secretary Hamblin said it was a difficult decision to leave the Department of Corrections but that he needs to spend more time with his family as he and his wife continue to address individual health issues.

“I am proud to have been part of Governor Walker’s administration and thank him for the opportunity to serve at the Department of Corrections,” Secretary Hamblin said. “I also want to thank my Executive Leadership team, including Deputy Secretary Chuck Cole and Executive Assistant Dennis Schuh, the Division Administrators and Assistant Administrators, and the rest of the DOC staff for assisting me in my duties as Secretary and for all the great work they do every day. Their contributions protect citizens and increase the quality of life in this great state. I am honored to have been a part of the Department of Corrections.”

Gary Hamblin was appointed DOC Secretary by Governor Walker in January of 2011. At DOC, Secretary Hamblin managed a more than $1 billion dollar budget and 10,000 employees, and expanded the agency’s effort to reduce repeat crime by better preparing offenders for their reentry into communities after prison or placement on probation. He also implemented reforms to create more transparency and operational efficiencies and savings for the Department so it could better meet its mission of public safety.

Secretary Hamblin has served the Wisconsin criminal justice community for 45 years. He began his career in law enforcement as a Sawyer County Deputy Sheriff. A year later, he joined the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation where he worked as an investigator, special agent, administrative officer, bureau director and deputy administrator, overseeing the areas of narcotics and gaming enforcement.

In 1997, former Governor Tommy Thompson appointed Secretary Hamblin as Sheriff of Dane County to fill a vacancy and he was re-elected three times before retiring in early 2007. A month later, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen appointed Secretary Hamblin the Administrator of the DOJ’s Division of Law Enforcement Services where he oversaw the State Crime Laboratory System, the Crime Information Bureau and the Training and Standards Bureau until he was appointed DOC Secretary.

The DOC is responsible for supervising about 89,000 offenders in prisons or on probation, parole or extended supervision in communities statewide. The Department also supervises juveniles placed in state facilities or on community supervision by the courts.

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