Life of Sheriff’s Deputy to Be Celebrated Saturday

(Courtesy photo)
The life of Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy and Humane Law Enforcement Officer Doug Sanford will be celebrated on Saturday afternoon at Noblesville First United Methodist Church. Among his survivors is his loyal hunting dog, Deke.

By now, most of our Times newspaper readers have likely learned about the passing of Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Doug Sanford.

Since 2015, he was the Sheriff’s department’s Humane Law Enforcement Officer, and was also the vice president of Hoosier Animal Law Officers (HALO). Before that, he was a community service officer for Carmel Police Department.

Sanford, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-native (born May 4, 1973) who lived in Sheridan, died on March 29. He was 48.

His Celebration of Life will be Saturday at Noblesville First United Methodist Church with visitation beginning at 1 p.m., with a memorial service at 3 p.m.

The Sheriff’s Office posted the news of Sanford’s passing on March 30, during our Noblesville Schools’ two-week spring break. Some folks may have missed the news due to being on break. However, thousands of condolence messages were posted by people from near and far. Also, passersby have likely noticed the memorial wreath placed on Sanford’s animal control truck in his honor displayed in front of the Sheriff’s Office on Cumberland Road in Noblesville.

(The Times photo by Betsy Reason)
Memorial wreaths decorate Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy Doug Sanford’s animal control truck in front of the Sheriff’s Office on Cumberland Road in Noblesville. He died on March 29. A Celebration of Life is Saturday.

“It is with a very heavy heart that the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office announces the passing of Deputy Doug Sanford. After a long, hard-fought battle with illness, Doug is now at rest,” the county Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page. “…Please keep Deputy Sanford’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this time of great loss … He has been a staple in this community since his (2015) swearing in and has done a fantastic job working with the citizens of this county, several animal organizations, assisting other law enforcement agencies, and educating the public on animal laws and ordinances. We thank you for your service and we will miss you dearly.”

Sheriff Dennis Quakenbush released a statement: “My prayers are with the Sanford family and with everyone who knew and loved Doug. As an expert in his field, he did so much to look out for animals in the community and to advance ‘Humane Law Enforcement.’ He was a great husband, father, personal friend and a servant leader and will be sorely missed.”

Sanford was a mentor to many in animal and law enforcement. He was an animal lover, evident from the many smiling photos of him holding an array of small animals.

For instance, in 2016, the Sheriff’s Department posted the story of how Sgt. Miller of Carmel Police Department witnessed a mother duck get hit by a car at 146th and Hazel Dell Road. The six ducklings with her subsequently fell into a storm drain. Miller summoned Carmel CSO Webb who then called County Animal Control Officer Doug Sanborn for assistance. Webb and Deputy Sanford were able to secure all the ducklings and release them back into the wild with another mother duck for safety.

“Doug was a very good man and great asset to the department,” said Joe Faucett, a retired Carmel city employee.

Sanford had sadly been hospitalized with COVID-19 since Dec. 5.

Just a week before Sanford passed, Blue Bond, in partnership with the National Police Wives Association, announced a community fundraising Trivia Night set for at 6 p.m. April 23 at Wyndham Westfield Hotel in Westfield. The event is still on. All proceeds — $40 per ticket or $280 per table — will be donated to the Sanford family to support their financial needs. Tickets are available at

The family requests memorial donations be sent to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Community Foundation, 18100 Cumberland Road, Noblesville, IN 46060, or go online at Those who would like to donate to the family of Deputy Doug Sanford, through the Indiana Fallen Heroes Foundation, may visit (

In his free time, the NRA member enjoyed shooting guns and pheasant and deer hunting with his friends. He also enjoyed spending time on Bois Blanc Island with his family, sitting in his recliner, drinking watered-down Kool-Aid and watching YouTube.

Sanford is survived by his wife, Heather (Wright) Sanford; son, Holdan (Erlmae); daughter, Brittney (Earl); mother, Sharon (Collins) Sanford; sister, Janero (Steve) Babcock; best friend/brother, Jon Stollings; and his loyal hunting dog, Deke.

– Contact Betsy Reason at