The wealthiest local sheriff in America is starting his first full week on the job

The new sheriff in town in Macon County, Illinois.
The new sheriff in town in Macon County, Illinois.
Image: AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File
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The new sheriff in Macon County, Illinois, doesn’t have a long and storied career in law enforcement. He’s a commercial farmer, an author of multiple books, and a corporate-board member. He’s also the head of a multi-billion-dollar foundation that wants to end world hunger, and the son of one of the richest men in the world.

Howard G. Buffett, the son of Warren, was sworn in as interim sheriff on Sept. 15, after the incumbent, Tom Schneider,  announced his retirement. He’ll hold the role until the county holds elections next fall.

Buffett is no random choice: He’s served as undersheriff in the county since 2014, and received an auxiliary sheriff’s certification in 2012. He boasts multiple qualifications, according to the county’s news release, including logging more than 3,300 hours of patrol and training, 74 weapons qualifications and several law-enforcement awards. His accomplishments in the department include developing K-9 and drug-interdiction programs, as well as verbal judo training.

“It has been an honor for me to serve our community as an Auxiliary Deputy Sheriff and as Undersheriff,” Buffett said in a statement. “I look forward to serving our citizens and our Sheriff’s Office employees in a broader capacity.” He will be responsible for the office’s 150 employees. (paywall)

“People say, ‘Oh, Howard Buffett, the billionaire’s son.’ But he’s just one of us,” Schneider, the retiring sheriff, told the Wall Street Journal in 2014 (paywall). “He’s got a youthful enthusiasm…He’s the first one digging the ditch.”

Buffett is in line to become a non-executive chairman at his father’s company, Berkshire Hathaway. He also serves on its board. According to all accounts, Warren Buffett’s children, raised in relative modesty, won’t be inheriting the family fortune for personal use, after the billionaire famously decided to donate the vast majority of his money to charity (some of it went to his children’s charitable foundations). Howard’s share in Berkshire Hathaway was worth more than $4 billion in 2015, according to Bloomberg. His father and late mother wanted the money to be used for the greater good.

Warren Buffet told the Associated Press that he’s sure the new position won’t detract from Howard’s philanthropy or his position on the Berkshire board. ”Howie has unlimited energy,” he said, and that “whatever Howie takes on he’ll do well.”