After over 20 years in law enforcement, Missoula County Undersheriff Jason Johnson has announced his retirement to go into business in Missoula.

Johnson said his retirement was effective on Monday.

"It was a very difficult decision, as you can imagine,” Johnson said. “Law enforcement is the only thing I’ve known for a very long time, and it’s very difficult to leave the sheriff’s office, and especially Sheriff T.J. McDermott who is a very good friend of mine. It was an honor to work for him and that he asked me to be his undersheriff for the last two years.”

Johnson said the business opportunity that presented itself simply couldn’t be passed up.

“I’m the new owner of the Montana Electronics, Omni-Com Paging Plus” he said. “It’s a wonderful company that’s been around for 26 years, and I just couldn’t pass it up.”

Johnson said there are many parts of his law enforcement career he’ll miss.

“I’ve been a patrol deputy to a detective working many important cases, as well as the undersheriff,” he said. “The things I’ll miss most are the camaraderie, it can be a very difficult world to work in and they deal with tragedy every day, and you grow to love those folks like a family. When you’re helping a family through the tragedy of a loss as a coroner, or hunting down a suspect on a sexual assault case, I’ll miss that level of service, but now, I’ll be in a different sort of service to the community.”

Johnson said he’s looking forward to getting a little more sleep in the months ahead, as well.

Sheriff McDermott will be appointing a new undersheriff after meeting with his executive staff and interviewing interested parties, and he expects the process to be completed by the end of this week.