RAMSEY COUNTY, Minn. – Matt Bostrom, sheriff of Ramsey County, announced Tuesday he’s resigning as sheriff and retiring from law enforcement to lead research at the University of Oxford. His focus will be increasing community trust in police, reported twincities.com.
This has been a foremost goal pursued by Bostrom during his tenure as sheriff. In the wake of controversy surrounding police work in the past few years, his new life ambition has a sense of urgency.
The sheriff’s last day in office will be Jan. 3, halfway through his second four-year term. The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners will appoint a replacement to fill the vacancy, according to the county charter and state law.
Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt, who chairs the board, said it’s her intention for the new sheriff to take over on Jan. 3 for “a seamless transition.” Ramsey County voters will have the opportunity to elect a new sheriff in November 2018, Reinhardt said.
Bostrom received praise from the commissioner. “I know Matt to be a man of integrity and character and compassion,” Reinhardt said. “He is committed to public service and I believe that what he is about to embark upon can truly be transformational.”
Bostrom retires after 34-years in the business. He began as a St. Paul police officer, rose through the ranks to became an assistant chief, and was first elected Ramsey County sheriff in 2010, according to the TwinCities report.
With many accomplishments to his resume he said, “The most important part of our mission is community trust, built through relationships with people we serve and work with. … I am proud of what we have accomplished and want to further advance community trust and legitimacy.”
“We have an opportunity to accomplish something great for our profession and I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish here in Ramsey County and have a sense of moral obligation to share this with others,” he said. “If we are successful, the tool we developed could be used by agencies around the world.”
Sheriff Bostrom has a doctorate from Hamline University in public education. He enrolled as a doctoral student in criminology at Oxford in the term beginning Oct. 10.
He has been asked to serve as project leader for research at Oxford regarding “character-based hiring.” The focus is to increase trust in law enforcement through this process. Their goal is to develop a model that agencies can implement, regardless of geographical location or jurisdiction.
Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. John Eastham said the Oxford study, which will analyze Ramsey County’s practices and then look at other agencies in the United States, will take at least three years reported the Star Tribune. There is no guarantee it will be funded, he said, adding that the first window for possible funding is next March.
This is something Sheriff Bostrom has been practicing since he was elected to office. He said he brought the idea of “character-based hiring” to the sheriff’s office in 2011. The idea is to hire people based on their character — honor, truth, responsibility and respect — and train them for competence, Bostrom said.
The sheriff said he and his wife will not be moving to England, but will be spending more time there.
“I’m still a Ramsey County guy,” he concluded.