SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — He’s been in law enforcement most of his adult life, now at age 68 Jim Severson is hanging up his badge.
Severson has been involved in investigating some of the state’s biggest and most horrific crimes, but we caught up with him at a much more enjoyable event where you get to see a much kinder and gentler man.
“Alright who needs a badge, anybody need a badge,” Jim Severson said.
In one of his last duty assignments, Deputy Sheriff Jim Severson helped out at the Turner County Fair; handing out sticker badges to kids.
And shaking lots of hands with adults.
Severson, who has a rough exterior, started his career as a correctional officer at the state penitentiary and later became an investigator with the DCI.
But at the fair, he gets to show his softer side.
Severson takes this picture of an alien his grandson drew for him five years ago everywhere he goes.
“So that began the journey of flat ET and he goes everywhere with me and you never know where his picture is going to show up,” Severson said.
And now he has an ET doll that rides with him as his sidekick.
“It’s kind of fun to do something totally different and out of character I’m not known as a touchy feely kind of guy,” Severson said.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but Severson is battling stage four esophagus cancer. He just finished his 11th chemotherapy treatment and says he’s feeling great.
“I try not let it change what I do, sometimes I have to schedule around it a little bit, but for the most part it’s surprising it waited til I retired to show its face, ” Severson said.
He even did one of his treatments while patrolling the Turner County Fair.
Jim was a good investigator and he did his job well,” former Turner County Sheriff Byron Nogelmeier said.
Byron Nogelmeier, the former Turner County Sheriff, hired Severson to work the fair as a part-time deputy.
He says Severson fits in well with the fair-goers and likes the idea of Severson riding around with an ET doll.
“Oh gosh yeah, that was something new this year,” Nogelmeier said. “But yeah, he’s giving out stickers just being a grandpa to all these kids.”
That’s a title Severson has grown accustomed to.
“That’s awesome because I have 14 grandkids and 14 great-grandkids of my own and we can just keep adding,” Severson said.
But now he’s ready to ride off into the sunset….. even if it’s in a side-by-side.
“I can’t chase bad guys anymore, I mean I can chase bad guys with a phone, a radio and a car but I’m not going to get out and wrestle with these guys anymore, just not going to happen,” Severson said. “I’m going to collect my pension and my social security check and I’m going to enjoy myself.”
Severson says he’ll continue with his cancer treatments for as long as it takes.
He says he still might work the Turner County Fair next year, but until then, he’s going to enjoy some time in the great outdoors.