Columbia Police Chief Randy Boehm applies for new job

Thursday, April 17, 2008 | 7:01 p.m. CDT; updated 12:36 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

COLUMBIA — Columbia police Chief Randy Boehm has applied for the job of chief of security for University Hospitals and Clinics, a move that could end his 31-year involvement with the department.

Boehm said he wasn’t really looking for someplace else to go. “I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” he said.

Randy Boehm: Timeline

Randy Boehm, who has served with the Columbia Police Department since October 1976, has applied for a security job with the University Hospital and Clinics. When Boehm became chief of the Columbia Police Department in 2000, he said his first priority was to enhance the department’s community policing and step up communication with Columbia’s neighborhood associations. He also wanted to deal with staffing and space issues.
  • October 1976: Joined the Columbia Police Department as an officer.
  • 1997-2000: Served as the commander of the Special Tactics and Response (STAR) Team, now the SWAT team.
  • Oct. 1, 1999: Became the interim police chief when Chief Norm Botsford left.
  • Oct. 27, 1999: Withdrew his name from consideration for chief and accepted a job as assistant chief with the MUPD. He said he would start when a new Columbia police chief was found.
  • March 8, 2000: Resubmitted his name to be considered for chief.
  • March 16, 2000: Officially named chief.
  • Dec. 18, 2002: Named Missouri Police Chief of the Year by the Missouri Police Chiefs Association.
  • 2002: Helped establish the Columbia Police Foundation, a tax-exempt organization to provide support for the police department through events and major gifts.
  • May 25, 2004: Mary Ratliff, president of the Columbia chapter of NAACP, asked Boehm to consider establishing a civilian review board to “increase the accountability and integrity of the police department.”
  • June 20, 2004: Boehm said a civilian review board was not necessary for the investigation of former police officer Steven Rios or for the police department in general. He said, “I don’t believe the current system is broken.”
  • Feb. 10, 2005: Boehm was chief when Officer Molly Bowden died of injuries after being shot during a routine traffic stop on January 10. Capt. Sam Hargadine said Boehm had spent the whole week with Bowden’s family at their home. Boehm said “losing a fellow officer is certainly like losing a family member.”
  • May 2005: Boehm had to testify as a witness in former Columbia police officer Steven Rios’ murder trial.
  • December 2006: A three-month study by the MU Center for the Study of Organizational Change found that Columbia police officers were unhappy. Boehm said he was surprised by findings that employees were afraid to make suggestions. Communication problems between the top and lower-ranked employees were listed among the reasons for dissatisfaction.
  • Dec. 20, 2007: In a meeting with Columbia’s Civilian Oversight task force and ACLU lawyer Dan Viets, Boehm again argued against the need for a civilian review board for the police department.
  • April 2008: Boehm said he applied to be security chief of the University Hospitals and Clinics. Capt. Brad Nelson said Boehm had not submitted a resignation to the Columbia Police Department as of April 17.

But he said there were financial considerations in the decision to change jobs. As chief of security, he would make between $55,000 and $82,700, he said. Although as police chief, Boehm makes $100,000 a year.

He has been eligible for retirement for the past 11 years.

When the job with the hospital presented itself, Boehm said he was interested because it’s “a law enforcement-related” job in Columbia. He and his wife love Columbia and want to remain here, he said.

“You have to look at the opportunities that present themselves,” he said.

Boehm denied that his decision to apply for another job had anything to do with the Citizen Oversight Committee, which has been taking a close look at the department’s handling of citizen complaints.

“Certainly there are some frustrations involved in having to defend ourselves,” Boehm said, “but we understand that we are a public agency and we have to answer to the public.”

He said the police department has been very cooperative with the citizen review board and will continue to be.

Boehm joined the department as an officer in October 1976. He rose through the ranks and was named police chief in 2000. On Dec. 18, 2002, Boehm was named Missouri Police Chief of the Year by the Missouri Police Chiefs Association.

Later that year, he helped establish the Columbia Police Foundation, a tax-exempt organization to provide support for the department through events and major gifts. He has also been involved with the Special Olympics.

If Boehm does decide to leave the department, it is not clear who will succeed him.

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