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Boyer says he won't seek another term as sheriff
Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer announced this week that he plans to retire at the end of the year and will not seek re-election to another term.
Boyer said that some recent health issues played a role in his decision.
"Fortunately, medical professionals have ruled out any serious issues affecting my wellbeing," he said. "While another term as sheriff would be possible, this has prompted me to reflect on the future and consider some new adventures. Although this may slow me down a bit, I consider this another challenge."
Noting that he would be 68 years old at the end of another term if he ran again, Boyer said, "the wise men know when and the foolish wait too long" to retire. He also joked that, "I'd like to be remembered for something other than those silly (baseball-style) cards I hand out."
Boyer said he wasn't really sure if his retirement rates as news or not.
"I would of preferred to just ride off into the sunset like Matt Dillon or Roy Rogers or something," he said.
After first being elected in 1998, Boyer has been the sheriff in Kitsap County for 15 years. Overall, his law enforcement career spans 34 years. Prior to his first election, he served in the Washington State Patrol for 27 years as a trooper, detective, sergeant and as a Lieutenant and Commander.
Boyer declined to speculate about who may run to replace him, but said he is prepared to make an endorsement at some point.
Boyer said two low points during his career as sheriff were when two deputies were shot at the Walmart in Port Orchard and a third came to their aid in 2011, and the night that Trooper Tony Radulescu, 44, was killed alongside State Route 16 after making a traffic stop.
On the brighter side, Boyer said the sheriff's office has come a long way during his 15-year run and he is especially proud of the men and women he served with.
"For the amount of resources we have, we don't take a backseat to anybody in terms of the quality of service," he said. "My job has always been to push them to the next plateau. One of the things that I am most proud of is I tried to create a culture where we are a part of the community and solving problems in a way where it's more than, 'Just the facts, mam.' "
When it comes to all the new tools and gadgets that have emerged in the last 15 years — from tazers, computers in patrol cars and other advances — Boyer said his deputies' roles have remained fundamental.
"Policing is still a people business," he said. "You can have all the tech in the world, but if you don't have people that care and are engaged with the community they serve, tech doesn't mean squat."
Boyer also talked about the great strides that have been made in Kitsap County addressing meth through education, enforcement and drug court, while acknowledging that more work remains when it comes to meth, heroin and other drugs.
"We still have a meth problem, but we don't have the epidemic we had when we were the second worst place in the state to Pierce County," he said.
The office of Kitsap County sheriff will be on the November 2014 general election ballot. If necessary, there will be a primary run-off in August. The office is partisan office and both the Republicans and Democrats are expected to launch campaigns for the seat. Boyer was elected as a Democrat.