Maj. Jeff Thielking has retired from the Batesville Police Department after 26 years. The assistant chief’s last day in the office was Sept. 12, although his official final day is Sept. 24.
How will the milestone be celebrated? According to Thielking, “We’ve had a run of retirees here (in the Memorial Building) recently. They will have some type of a sendoff.”
“Jeff will be missed,” reports Chief Stan Holt. “When I was hired on, Jeff was the officer who trained me. As far as somebody really having been proud of a police department, that is Jeff. Jeff is really a policeman’s policeman. When you think of the brotherhood of police, that’s Jeff.” Holt admires his assistant’s work ethic. “He’s one of the guys around the agency over the years ...(who) will do anything he needs to do to make things run efficiently.”
Thielking admits, “I’m ready to move on .... It’s been a good career. I’ve enjoyed it. There’s a lot to learn. I have absolutely no regrets.” With wife Mari working as a Batesville Water & Gas Utility employee, “the city … has treated our family well.”
“I’m kind of excited to go into another direction. I’m just really open right now” to future work prospects. After taking it easy for a little while, the 55-year-old will hunt for another job, “not just for the income. A person needs to wake up to something every morning.”
He reflects, “Police work is a young man’s game. It’s a high-stress position. You’re always chasing calls.” Even as his duties shifted to mostly administrative, the Batesville native and resident was “still out working the streets, still going to domestic disputes, still handling violent people.”
Thielking has been planning for this moment. Three years ago, the Public Employee Retirement Fund offered the officer a program that locks in retirement perks. “They take your monthly benefit and put it in some type of annuity account. Whatever monies have accrued in the three years, you get a one-time payment when you leave and you continue to get your benefit monthly.”