Ed Hastings’ plans for retirement don’t include fishing or lavish vacations. Instead, his goal is to embark on a new career in law.
Hastings, chief deputy of the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office, is a first-year student at The University of Toledo’s College of Law. He has spent more than two decades in law enforcement and will be nearing the end of law school around the time of his retirement.
“I’m eligible to retire in 2025, and I would love to transition straight into practicing law,” Hastings said. “Law enforcement is a wonderful career, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It takes a toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally. I wanted to pursue law because I believe it will make me want to get up every morning and go to work. I think it’s challenging and not monotonous, so it keeps the mind as fresh as possible.”
Hastings, 50, has been chief deputy since 2017 and before that worked as a police officer for the Perkins Township Police Department. He has a master’s degree in criminal justice.
Eric C. Chaffee, Distinguished University Professor in UToledo’s College of Law, values Hastings’ background.
“I’m always excited to have members of law enforcement in my courses because of the real-world experience and excitement about learning the law they bring to the classroom,” Chaffee said. “Ed Hastings is no exception. After a busy day of work, he arrives at the College of Law ready to learn and happy to contribute.”
Hastings first considered pursuing a law degree around 2012 after a police officer from a nearby community mentioned he was enrolled in UToledo’s part-time juris doctor program. At the time, Hastings’ schedule wasn’t conducive to attending school.
The thought reentered his mind in 2020 after talking with an attorney about the death of George Floyd and the attention it brought to law enforcement.
“Apparently, I spoke passionately about it because that is when he told me I would make a pretty good defense attorney,” Hastings said.
A defense attorney is one path Hastings is considering following. He is also interested in criminal prosecution and labor law, having served as a police union representative at Perkins Township.
“I’ve been involved in contract negotiations for both sides of the table, the labor side and management side,” he said. “Labor law is intriguing because I think everyone in the workforce should have good legal representation. Law school is a pretty unique animal, and there are a lot of opportunities there. I’m also leaving my options open in case another discipline presents itself that looks even more promising.”
Hastings attends classes in the evenings twice weekly while balancing work and family. His children, ages 8 and 13, are active in sports, and Hastings is committed to never missing a game or match.
“Family has to come first, but in order to do that, you need to communicate with them and gain their support,” Hastings said. “You need to do the same thing with work, too. Before I entered law school, I spoke to my boss, Sheriff Chris Hilton, who, behind my family, is my biggest supporter. If someone is planning this kind of venture, they need the same kind of support I have at home and at work.”
Hastings’ wife, Wendy, is also pursuing a second career and attends classes at BGSU Firelands. She’s studying to become a teacher.
“There are several nights when we’re all doing homework,” Hastings said. “We’re really busy, but we make it work. My wife and I hope we are showing our children that you’re never too old to get an education or start another career.”