By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- The current longest-serving member of the Indian River County Sheriff's Office is leaving his post for a well-deserved retirement.
Undersheriff and Chief Deputy L.E. "Bud" Spencer has logged 34 years with the law enforcement agency and will officially retire on Aug. 31. Chief Deputy Spencer was recognized last week in a proclamation in a meeting with the Board of Indian River County Commissioners.
After the proclamation was read by Commissioner Wesley Davis, Chief Deputy Spencer thanked them and the people he has served with during his tenure. He said Indian River County is the best place to live and work, but attributed his ability to do his job well to his wife, Loma.
"I wouldn't be where I'm at without her," Chief Deputy Spencer said.
Charles W. Sembler II, former Indian River County Tax Collector, also spoke during the meeting, sharing a funny story, but closing with words of praise for Chief Deputy Spencer counting himself "lucky to have him as a good friend."
Sheriff Deryl Loar, the fifth Indian River County Sheriff Chief Deputy Spencer has served under, said the officer's retirement was bittersweet.
"He is an ethical man and a gentleman and we will miss him," Sheriff Loar said.
Chief Deputy Spencer began his law enforcement career as a patrol deputy with the Lee County Sheriff's Office and came to the Indian River County Sheriff's Office in July 1980.
He was entrusted with various tasks and responsibilities and rose through the ranks while serving Indian River County, including: a promotion to corporal in road patrol in 1985 with a transfer to the training unit in 1987, a promotion to lieutenant over the personnel services section which includes human resources, accreditation and training, in 1989, a leadership position in the special operations section to include ranch and grove, marine enforcement and aviation in 2001, a promotion to deputy division commander in uniform patrol in 2004, a promotion to captain and command of the information services division in 2007, a transfer to the judicial and staff services division in 2009 and an appointment to chief deputy in 2010.
After retirement, Chief Deputy Spencer and his wife will remain in Indian River County, but will have a little bit more downtime and traveling opportunities.
In an interview, Chief Deputy Spencer said it would be nearly impossible to choose just one experience out of his long career as the most memorable.
During those 34 years, technology used by the agency has improved by leaps and bounds, he said.
"When I started, we didn't even have walkie talkies and now there are laptops in the vehicles," Chief Deputy Spencer said.
There have been incredibly sad events including the death of Indian River County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Raczkoski, the only Indian River County deputy killed in action.
"I was also here when the (David) Gore murders happened and other kidnappings in the 1980s," Chief Deputy Spencer said.
He said he felt privileged to have been involved in five different sheriff's office administrations and humbled to have been a part of many changes and improvements to the office.
"And you never know, after the curtain goes down, there may be an opportunity for an encore," Chief Deputy Spencer said.