Warren Buffett's son staying as Illinois sheriff stint ends

 
 
Updated 12/8/2018 11:02 AM
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DECATUR, Ill. -- Howard Buffett, the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, said he will continue investing in his central Illinois community after his improbable term as the local sheriff.

The younger Buffett was a longtime volunteer with the Macon County Sheriff's Office before he was appointed in late 2017 to fill the previous sheriff's remaining term.

Buffett's term ended Nov. 30, but he tells the (Decatur) Herald and Review that he has no plans to leave the area and will continue advancing his Decatur-based foundation, which has donated about $100 million to local projects over the past two decades.

The wealthy philanthropist, who also works as farmer, author and photographer, moved to the city in 1992 and established the Howard G. Foundation seven years later. He pledged his largest financial donation in August, when he announced plans to invest $30 million in a campus of facilities in central Illinois that help people battling drug addiction.

Fighting drug addiction was also a focus during his term as sheriff.

"He cares about Decatur," his father, founder of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway and one of the wealthiest people in the world, told the newspaper. "He connects with people and he sympathizes with people who have not been as lucky in life.

"He has his mother's genes ... he really sees every person as a human being," Warren Buffett said. "It's not an act with him at all. He's always been that way and he doesn't just, you know, go on a hang-out with big shots."

He said his son maintains an exceptional work ethic and perpetual yearning to give back.

The Macon County Sheriff's Office has established an at-risk program, which provides access to a drug treatment program for people suffering from addiction. Buffett said the most gratifying part of being sheriff was how the officers handled people with substance abuse issues.

"There's probably a lot of older, old-school cops who think you arrest everybody, but the truth is we just cannot arrest everybody; it doesn't work," he said. "They're stealing because they have an addiction. Dealing with the stealing is not going to help them deal with the addiction."

Buffett previously funded an $180,000 grant, over a three-year period, for Macon County to create a new prosecutor position focused on opioid cases.

"We are totally committed to Decatur," he said. "We will continue to stay very involved."

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Information from: Herald & Review, http://www.herald-review.com

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