Sunday, July 01, 2001

Oath unites Boone cops

Sheriff office expands by 64

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        BURLINGTON — P.J. Dazier took care of a problem on the way to Saturday's ceremony in which he became a Boone County Sheriff's deputy.

        On the way there, he stopped to help a stranded motorist at U.S. 42 and Frogtown Road. He did it without getting so much as a smudge on his new brown shirt and tan pants.

[photo] Officers with the now-defunct Boone County Police swear to uphold the law Saturday as new members of the sheriff's office.
(ERnest Coleman photos)
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        “I'm out there with no badge, and I'm pushing a car,” he said.

        Still, he arrived in time to be one of 64 Boone County Police officers sworn in as deputies at the Boone County Extension Service office on Camp Ernst Road.

        It was the end of the 35-year-old police department.

        The badges came at the close of the 30-minute ceremony. Before that, Tim Hamilton was sworn in as Boone County Commissioner.

        The swearing-in was the final step in the combination of the two departments. It nearly triples the sheriff's department, to 110 deputies.

        “It's the end of the Boone County Police Department, but it's also the end of the sheriff's office as we know it,” Sheriff Mike Helmig said. “We've built a whole new department.”

[photo] Paulette Redman looks for her new badge identifying her as a sheriff's deputy after the swearing-in ceremony.
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        James Whalen was the last Boone County Police chief. He's a colonel in the sheriff's department, and spent 26 1/2 years as a county officer.

        “There's no doubt in my mind (the new department) will work,” Col. Whalen said. “We've combined two of the best police departments in the state; the final product is bound to be exceptional.”

        Boone is the fastest-growing county in Greater Cincinnati. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Boone County's population is 85,991, a 49.3 percent increase since 1990.

        Sheriff Helmig said the former three patrol districts would be redrawn into 10, which means each deputy will be responsible for less territory.

        No jobs or benefits were lost in the consolidation. The estimated cost for the changes is $125,000.

        Sheriff's Col. Les Hill said the transition went well.

        “I'm amazed at how well it's gone,” he said. “We expected some odds and ends, just logistics, getting the uniforms in.”

        In fact, new deputy Jeremy Miller liked his new uniform.

        “The earth tones bring out my blue eyes.”

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