SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Following a cancer diagnosis, Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals announced he will retire next year after nearly five decades of law enforcement service.

In a letter to the citizens of Sevier County, Seals said he will retire at the end of his term on Aug. 31, 2022.

“Many of you know that I was recently diagnosed with cancer. While this recent news certainly played a part in my retirement decision, I want to assure you that I feel confident about the future of this agency.”

Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals

“At the end of this term, I will have served the citizens of this great county for 49 years spanning across six decade,” Seals said. “I am so grateful for the trust shown to me by the people of Sevier County. Each day I thank my Lord and Savior for the opportunity to serve as your Sheriff.”

A Sevierville native, Seals graduated from Sevier County High School in 1970. He began his career in law enforcement at the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office in 1973.

In 1979, he returned to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office to serve as deputy chief after several years with the Pigeon Forge Police Department. He was appointed sheriff in 2007 after Sheriff Bruce Montgomery died following a battle with cancer. Seals was reelected in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Under Seals’ leadership, the agency received accreditation from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation Program in 2012. He called it one of his proudest accomplishments in the letter.

Seals says he was planning to run to renew his term before he got his liver cancer diagnosis.

“Anybody that’s had cancer – and I’ve always thought this – there’s a time, am I going to live? Am I not going to live? How is it going to affect me?”

This is not Seals’ first battle with cancer. He says he beat colon cancer in 1992.

“I know that I’ve been through it, but we don’t know what’s in store for us and I felt that I need to spend more time with my family,” Seals said.”

Thank you for trusting me to be your Sheriff for the last fourteen years. I plan to enjoy my retirement right here at home in this great county with the love of my life, my wife Wanda. My prayer is that this county will continue to grow and prosper yet remain the same wonderful family-oriented community that we all work to protect. May God Bless each of you and may God Bless Sevier County.”