Sheriff George T. Maier gives his local picks

Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier has spent more than three decades protecting residents. The Massillon native began his law enforcement career in 1981 as a patrol officer for the Hartville Police Department.

Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier has spent more than three decades protecting residents.

The Massillon native began his law enforcement career in 1981 as a patrol officer for the Hartville Police Department. A year later, Maier joined the Ohio Highway Patrol where he would spend the bulk of his career. He rose through the patrol’s ranks to become the patrol’s district commander in 2004.

In 2007, Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland elevated Maier to assistant director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. He held that post until 2011.

Maier didn’t stay in Massillon long. In February 2013, he was appointed Stark County’s sheriff to succeed Sheriff-elect Michael A. McDonald, who was elected to the post but became too ill to take office and later died. Maier, who survived an unprecedented legal battle involving the Ohio Supreme Court to retain the post, faced no opposition for his re-election bid in November.

As sheriff, Maier, 57, oversees a more than $20 million operating budget and a staff of roughly 250. His staff is responsible for a wide range of functions that impact Stark County residents daily, including: operating the Stark County Jail, which has a capacity to hold 501 inmates, transporting more than 3,500 prisoners a year, providing court security and executing court-issued search warrants and investigating crimes and vehicle crashes in the communities that do not have their own police force. The sheriff’s office also handles registering sex offenders and concealed-carry permits holders, overseeing sheriff sales and foreclosure and dispatches emergency calls for some communities as well as the county dog warden and Stark County park rangers.

Maier’s five local picks:
1. Employees of the Stark County Sheriff’s Office

“As sheriff, I’m honestly blessed to have these professionals who share in my commitment to keep Stark County safe,” Maier said. “They have a complex job, and I pray for their safety and the safety of their families
every day.”

2. Stark County high school football

“We have some of the greatest rivalries within Stark County with some of the highest levels of performance,” Maier said. “Regardless of where you hail from here in Stark County, it’s always exciting to talk about high school football.”

While Maier remains loyal to his alma mater, the Massillon Tigers, he also roots for many other Stark County teams, especially when they make it to the state finals, such as the Central Catholic Crusaders and Perry Panthers did this past season.

Crowd of people at an outdoor festival

3. Church and community festivals

“We here in Stark County are so lucky to have so many community and civic events, the balloon festival, the ethnic church festivals and the parades all around the county,” Maier said. “Sometimes we forget what we have here in Stark County with all these great events.”

He especially enjoys the ethnic church festivals because “you get a taste of the community.”

4. Smiley’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Massillon

“It’s got a small hometown feel, great food and great atmosphere,” Maier said. “When you walk in, everybody knows you by your name. He has a great menu there, and you never leave hungry.”

Maier’s favorite dish is linguini alio with broccoli and chicken.

5. The Pro Football Hall of Fame experience (Enshrinement and Village)

“The project has helped us work together as a community to shine a bright light on Stark County and all that we have to offer here, both for the residents and the people who come to visit,” Maier said. “You just can’t help be excited about this.”