Porter County Sheriff's Department









Warden John J. Widup Retirement

Porter County Sheriff David Lain, left, congratulates jail Warden John J. Widup at a retirement party Friday.


Porter County Jail Warden John J. Widup thanks his family, friends and co-workers during a retirement party in his honor Friday.


Former assistant chief Norwood Fritts says a few words for

Porter County Jail Warden John J. Widup at a retirement party Friday.


Long-time Porter County Jail warden retiring 

December 20, 2013 •  Heather Augustyn Times Correspondent

 VALPARAISO | Joe Widup was surprised by friends, family and colleagues who gathered in a Porter County Sheriff's Department room and applauded as he stepped in -- there to celebrate his upcoming retirement.

Widup has been the warden for the Porter County Jail since 1994.

Widup has worked in law enforcement for more than 40 years. He was with the Valparaiso Police Department from February 1967 through April 1987, and he then worked his way up through the ranks at the Porter County Sheriff Department to become warden for the past two decades.

“It’s hard to believe that’s the last time I get to order you around,” Porter County Sheriff David Lain said as he told Widup to come to the front of the room for a presentation of an actual jail key, a plaque of recognition from the department, and a letter from Rep. Pete Visclosky that congratulated Widup on his dedication and commitment to the betterment of Porter County.

“You’re one of my oldest and dearest friends and one of the most respected in my career," Lain said. "You were my first boss and you’re one of the reasons for me being around.”

Former Porter County Sheriff Reynolds, who served from 1999 to 2006 and is running for re-election to the post, said Widup was one of the “good guys” who helped to make the community a better place.

“We worked together undercover and this guy had his act together and since then, the mid-1970s, we have maintained our friendship. When it came time to decide who would be the warden of this jail, it wasn’t a hard decision when it came to Joe,” Reynolds said.

Jay Birky, chaplain at the Porter County Jail, used the word “integrity” to describe Widup and said that he had “firm footing.”

Before joining the gatherers for lunch and a cake that read “Good Luck on Your Jail Escape,” Widup spoke of his time working in the field of law enforcement and said serving as warden was the “best job I’ve had.”

“I’ve had a great staff to work with and I’ve met a lot of people during my life and I have learned to appreciate you all,” Widup said.


Retiring Porter County Jail warden Joe Widup (left) talks with Jack Thiry, who used to work with Widup at the jail, during a Dec. 20 surprise party for Widup.

Post-Tribune photo



P.C. warden retires after 40-year law enforcement career

By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent December 26, 2013


VALPARAISO — With a little bit of ribbing and a lot of appreciation, Joe Widup’s associates in law enforcement and his family honored him for a total of 40 years of service between the Porter County Sheriff’s and Valparaiso Police departments.

Widup, 72, is retiring as warden at the county jail, a position he’s held since 1999. He has been with the sheriff’s department since 1994, and served Valparaiso for 20 years before that.

He was honored Dec. 22 at a surprise luncheon at the sheriff’s department, where more than 60 supporters filled the training room.

“It’s hard to believe this is the last time I get to order you around,” joked Sheriff David Lain.

“Thank God!” Wadip responded.

Lain, who also came to the sheriff’s department from Valparaiso’s department, said Widup was his first boss.

“You’re one of my oldest and dearest friends, and one of the most respected people I’ve known in my career,” Lain said.

Lain gave Widup a key to the jail and presented a letter of commendation from U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, as well as a lifetime service award from the sheriff’s department.

Dave Reynolds, who, as sheriff, named Widup warden — Reynolds, a Democrat, is again running for sheriff — said Widup was in charge when the county built the new jail on Ind. 49 and moved into the facility, which looks like it just opened.

“That’s a lot of credit to you,” he said.

Widup, who plans on spending time traveling with his wife Cheryl now that he’s retiring, thanked those who came to honor him.

“I don’t know what to say, but when I came to this jail, all I really wanted to do was be a jail officer,” he said, adding he initially wanted to be chief deputy while he was working for Reynolds. “He put me in there and it’s the best job I’ve had. I had a great staff to work with.”

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