After decades of arrests, a rest for chief deputy
By Shavonne Potts
Rowan County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Steve Schenk is ready to enjoy life. The veteran is retiring after more than 30 years in law enforcement.
“It’s time,” he said.
His last day is July 31. Although he was eligible to retire in April, he “hung around for the summer.”
Now he’s ready to travel a bit with wife, Carla. The couple have an RV and plan to camp when his wife isn’t working.
Schenk said he will also do some work around the house, spend time with his 3-week-old granddaughter, Maddison, maybe find some part-time work.
“I don’t see myself just sitting around,” he said.
He will continue to teach law-enforcement training classes at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. Also, he’ll keep up his “hobby” as a DJ. He works one or two events a month.
Probably one of the biggest reasons he decided it was time to leave was a wreck in which he was involved in May. A drunken driver rear-ended Schenk and fellow officer Maj. Tim Bost, who was a passenger.
“It was kind of a wake-up call. Tim and I could’ve been killed,” Schenk said.
He really wants to “go out and enjoy life a little more,” he said.
Schenk, whose annual salary is $84,739, hasn’t worked for the county long enough to qualify for the free retiree health insurance program.
Schenk has been at the sheriff’s office for 11 years; before that, he was the chief of the Spencer Police Department from 1992-1998.
While serving as chief in Spencer, he hired former Deputy George Wilhelm, who had been fired after an unsuccessful run for sheriff against incumbent Bob Martin. Four years later, when Wilhelm ousted Martin, he hired Schenk as his chief deputy.
From 1980-1992, Schenk worked at the Salisbury Police Department.
What he will miss the most are the people he’s worked with over the years.
“I’ve established some real good bonds. They’ve taught me a lot,” Schenk said.
Schenk said he came from a background of working in municipal policing, so he’s learned a lot from the people at the sheriff’s office.
“We’ve got good friendships,” he said.
The thing that stands out for Schenk over the years are the fellow officers who died in the line of duty. During his career he lost four officers.
“That’s always hard. To me, we are all family. It’s like losing a member of the family,” he said.
Schenk said losing an officer makes you more aware of what you are doing.
He’s formed many friendships throughout the last 30 years.
“I hope that I’ve tried to treat everybody fair and the same,” he said. “I’m going to miss them.”