After 17 years with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, nearly all of it with the Criminal Investigations Division and Tri-Count Drug Task Force, and more than 35 years of public service, Capt. John McNeil is retiring.

McNeil, who began his career in law enforcement in 1993 with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, was honored at a reception and lunch Friday at the John Fallis Riverfront Building in the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Regional Park that was attended by an estimated 80 people, many of them from other agencies McNeil has worked with.

“My plans after high school were initially to gain a factory job like my late father who at the time was employed at International Paper,” McNeil said in a press release from the sheriff’s office. “Working at International Paper was just something everyone seemed to do after high school. It seemed to provide enough for my family but my father wanted more for me. He didn’t agree with me having to work shift work and long hours in a factory-like setting.”

McNeil joined the Pine Bluff Police Department as an auxiliary officer until 1994 when he accepted a full-time position with the Star City Police Department. After a short time there, McNeil moved to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office from 1995 to 1999, serving first as a radio operator/jailer. In 1997, while working for Lincoln County, he was reassigned to the Central Arkansas Multi-Agency Enforcement Organization C.A.M.E.O. that was then operated by the Arkansas State Police.

He joined the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 1, 1999 and was originally assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division as an investigator before being promoted to Sargent on Jan. 1, 202, Lieutenant on Oct. 1, 2002 and finally Captain on Aug. 9, 2004.

“McNeil was a loyal and faithful public servant who always responded to any call given to him,” Sheriff Gerald Robinson said. “He was a leader within our ranks and his vacancy will be most difficult to fill.”

Now that he is retiring, McNeil said he plans to devote more time to his personal business, Outfitters RX at Monticello. He also plans to do more fishing, hunting, and traveling with his wife Jennifer and their grandchildren.

Because of his prior military service in the U.S. Army, combined with his work with the Department of Corrections and other law enforcement agencies, McNeil was credited with 35 years 11 months of public service through the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS).