POLAND, Ohio - As community leaders gathered to honor the career of Mahoning County Sheriff Randall Wellington Friday night, a commissioner made a major announcement on how he wants Wellington's legacy to live on past retirement.
Before becoming Mahoning County Sheriff in 1999, Randall Wellington had served as part of the Army's Military Police in Korea and was a Youngstown police officer for 41 years, including 14 as police chief.
Those years as chief under Mayor Pat Ungaro, starting in 1984, are some of Wellington's fondest memories.
It marked a turning point in Valley law enforcement. He sent a message that Randall Wellington could not be bought out by the mob.
"He was the only one I trusted. He made me feel comfortable that when I went to bed at night that he wasn't picking up a suitcase with $100 bills in it. I knew he would never do that and once you lose the police chief, you lose control of the city and I couldn't have survived 14 years without his stability there and it was easy actually with him," Ungaro said.
Wellington's moral compass is something that many federal, state, and local leaders praised at his retirement party Friday.
Retired FBI agent Bob Kroner said, "Well I can remember several years ago when we raided the All American Club in Campbell, Ohio and he along with our special agent in charge were inside this gambling casino in Campbell, Ohio and they were standing over a dice table where millions of dollars in illegal funds had passed over several years."
Wellington said, "It was very lucrative. A lot of money was made for organized crime. So we went in there, we made investigations, made a lot of arrests and made a lot of people unhappy."
He was able to restore integrity to the sheriff's office and help create task forces in existence to this day.
So to honor his career, Commissioner Anthony Traficanti announced he wants to name the Mahoning County Justice Center the Randall A. Wellington Justice Center.
Even though Wellington is hanging up his hat in law enforcement at 79-years-old, he doesn't plan to slow down anytime soon.
When asked, "Are you're still speed walking three miles a day?" Wellington replied, "Every morning. Come on down. I'll be down there."
Sheriff-Elect Jerry Green will be sworn in Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Mahoning County Courthouse.