Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Sheriff Gladieux respects and honors traditional family values and incorporates those values into his role of law enforcement leadership. Now entering his 31st year with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, he explains why he loves a job most people would hate; why family and friends always come first; and why he can’t stop chasing that little white ball around the golf course.
Q1: Why did you choose law enforcement as a career?
After graduating from Bishop Dwenger High School, I went to work at the Gladieux Refinery in Fort Wayne. Some of my relatives owned the business. After it shut down, I got a job as an ecology officer with the county. I would take inmate crews out to do things like clean up trash. Then I was a civilian confinement officer for a couple of years. In 1987, I was hired as a deputy. I’ve grown up with law enforcement in my family. My dad and uncle were state troopers and my sister has been with the Fort Wayne Police Department for more than 30 years. I applied to be a trooper. There were more than 3,500 applicants and I made it to the final 200. I ended up staying with the county and I have no regrets. I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps, but it was a blessing in disguise. I wouldn’t have the job I have today had I taken that path.
Q2: What are the best parts of your job?
I know it sounds cliché, but I really do like to help people and as sheriff, I get to do that and I can also help my employees better themselves, get the pay they deserve, the equipment they deserve and the support they deserve. I’ve been working on a big project to renovate a gymnasium in a building off Cook Road that will be exclusively for the employees. We received a donation of some very nice NFL workout equipment and there will be televisions on the walls, new locker rooms and showers. It should be open sometime this summer.
Q3: What are the most challenging parts of your job?
On the positive side, I feel I have a good working relationship with County Council and the county commissioners. That makes my job much easier. But there are always politics involved with everything and I’m not a big fan of that. The other issue I have to deal with has to do with the fact that we live in a different society today where a lot of young people feel a sense of entitlement and have little or no respect for authority. I spent 13 years as a K-9 handler, working in the traffic division and on the SWAT team. I loved it, but I don’t think I would enjoy it now. We have so many incidents of people talking to our officers in an extremely rude or hostile way or pulling out their cell phones to videotape a conversation. It’s very frustrating to me.
Q4: Any thoughts on the opioid crisis and if we can overcome the problem?
In the 1980s, Fort Wayne was known as the “Crack Capital of the Midwest” because we’re surrounded by big cities and we were viewed as a very convenient hub for crack cocaine dealers. Then meth became the big problem and now it’s opioids. In my opinion, we are not equipped to deal with the opioid crisis. Efforts are being made to open a treatment center locally, which will help. I don’t know if we’ll ever win the war on drugs, but we certainly have the capability of winning a lot of battles.
Q5: What are your favorite activities when you’re away from the office?
I love to play golf… I’m just not that good at it and I don’t have much time to play. My cousins are golfers and they invite me to play 18 holes every weekend. I go whenever I can. I’m also very tight with my high school buddies from Dwenger and love taking golf trips with them. Just spending time with my family is important to me. I have three daughters, four sisters and my dad. We don’t always get to see each other as much as I would like, but we make the most of the time we get to be together.