In his 20 years as Boone County sheriff, the honors piled up for Ted Boehm. He served longer than any of his predecessors, so the accolades for Boehm, who will retire Friday, seem to know no bounds. Almost.
“I’ll tell you one thing about him,” said Billy Boyce, who helped persuade Boehm to run for office more than 20 years ago, “He stinks at golf.”
Boyce was among a group of friends, colleagues and law enforcement officials who honored Boehm on Tuesday at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.
Bruce Wilson recalled that when a group of friends first approached Boehm about running for sheriff, the prospective candidate was cautious.
“We had to meet him twice,” Wilson said. “The first time he asked if we could raise the money. And we said that we could. Then he said, ‘Well, let me sleep on it and talk to my wife.’ Two or three days later, he decided to run. That’s how I got to know him. We became good friends. He’s my neighbor now.”
The voters elected Boehm for his first term in 1985. He won re-election four times.
“When it came to running for sheriff, he was popular,” Wilson said. “Based on his background, we knew he’d be a good sheriff.”
In his five terms, Boehm grew the department from about 40 employees to about 130 today, said Lt. Keith Hoskins, who worked for Boehm for more than 18 years. Hoskins said Boehm’s leadership was evident in 1991, when the department moved into a new facility to better accommodate its growth. Hoskins recalled that it was an especially stressful time, but Boehm’s ability to communicate effectively made him as popular with his fellow employees as he was with the voters.
“People understood the sheriff,” he said. “The public voted him sheriff every four years. It’s overwhelming.”
Boehm’s tenure was marked by a number of personal milestones. In 1997, he was named Sheriff of the Year by the Missouri Deputy Sheriffs’ Association. Two years later, the Missouri Police Chiefs Association named him Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
Detective Michael Stubbs said Boehm built the Boone County Sheriff’s Department into a more professional department.
“He’s always been a person with a vision for what he wants to do,” said Stubbs, who joined the department in 1987. “That sense of purpose is what I’ve always admired about him.”
Among Boehm’s greatest accomplishments, Stubbs said, was passage of Proposition L, the countywide one-eighth-cent sales tax that generates money for law enforcement.
“I don’t think the Boone County citizenry know, but I think in the years to come they will appreciate him,” Stubbs said. “That’s what a legacy is about.”
At the reception, Dwayne Carey, who was elected Nov. 2 to succeed Boehm, presented a new set of golf clubs to his former boss. Boehm will begin his retirement with a golfing vacation with friends in Mexico. Wilson says he thinks his neighbor’s transition into retirement will be smooth — and that his golf game is likely to improve.
“Give him time,” Wilson said. “It’s just like being sheriff. If he keeps playing, he’ll keep getting better. If he puts his mind to it, he’ll be one of the best.”