COLUMBIA — In more than 23 years in law enforcement, Capt. Beverly Braun never had regular patrol duty with the Boone County Sheriff's Department. Instead, she spent most of her career keeping the department running and creating new programs.
Detective Tom O’Sullivan, who worked with Braun from 1993 to 2003 as a DARE officer and again in the Services Division from 2005 to 2007, said Braun managed "the nuts and bolts of the whole department.”
Sheriff Dwayne Carey had trouble describing the breadth of her career at her retirement party Monday at the Sheriff's Department.
“There’s no way I could tell you everything she’s responsible for,” Carey said to the crowd of people that gathered for the occasion. “We wish you the best of luck.”
Around 50 people sat down in the training room of the department Monday morning to celebrate Braun's retirement.
Braun has held the title of commander of the Services Division throughout her more than 23 years at the Sheriff’s Department.
Anyone can hear the pride in Braun's voice when she speaks of her time at the Sheriff's Department.
“I like everything I do,” Braun said when asked about her greatest accomplishment. “There haven’t been many days that I haven’t wanted to come to work.”
Maj. Tom Reddin has worked with Braun his entire 23-year career at the Sheriff’s Department.
“The biggest thing about Bev is that she’s an advocate of the people who work under her,” Reddin said.
Capt. Chad Martin will take Braun’s place upon her retirement. Martin has worked with Braun for several years and has spent more than five months being trained by her.
“I’ve been able to learn the ropes from her,” Martin said. “It’s been a good opportunity.”
Former Boone County Sheriff Ted Boehm hired Braun in 1985 as the commander of the Services Division and as a lieutenant. At the time, Braun had no experience or training as a deputy, and she never officially served as a patrolwoman, though she was often on-call.
“My job has always been unique,” Braun said.
Braun, who became a captain in 1987, worked to create programs that are beneficial to the community.
“I feel like I started the DARE program here,” Braun said, referring to Drug Abuse Resistance Education, a program that educates children in schools about drugs, alcohol and peer pressure.
Braun proposed to implement the program in Boone County, and received grants to hire and train three officers. The first officer was trained in 1988, and the first DARE class was held in 1989.
In 2002, Braun received a grant for the School Resource Officer program, which assigns law enforcement officers to schools. The department’s SRO program provides officers for several Boone County schools.
“I’m very proud of the DARE and SRO programs,” Braun said.
At Monday's ceremony, members of the Sheriff’s Department offered her gifts including a case filled with police uniform adornments, a crystal bowl and a check for $1,000 in her name to be donated to the department’s scholarship fund.
Presiding Boone County Commissioner Ken Pearson read aloud a proclamation that detailed Braun’s life and accomplishments, and declared Nov. 17, 2008, to be Capt. Beverly Braun Day in Boone County.
Braun’s last day on the job will be Dec. 1, 2008.
“I just thought it was a good time to hang it up,” Braun said. She plans to spend time with her grandchildren and would like to do some volunteer work. She and her husband, who is also retired, are planning a trip to Florida in February 2009 to attend the St. Louis Cardinals’ spring training.
“The people of Boone County should be very pleased to have had a captain like Bev Braun,” Reddin said. “We’re going to miss her.”