Ramsey Co. Sheriff retiring to take research job at Oxford

- Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom announced his retirement in an emotional press conference Tuesday as he plans pursue a new opportunity at the University of Oxford in England. 

‘If you’re looking for the tough guy sheriff, he’s not here today,” Bostrom cracked as he tried to hold back tears.

At a press conference, Bostrom announced he is retiring, effective Jan. 3.  Bostrom said was offered a project leader position with the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford last week, where he will conduct research on increasing police trust and legitimacy through character-based hiring.

Bostrom said he had contacted Dr. Ben Bradford at the Centre for Criminology last year because of Bradford’s focus on researching police trust and how it aligned with his own work in Ramsey County on character-based hiring and training.

“Again it’s to do the analysis to say did what we discover here, is it specific to Ramsey County,” Bostrom said. “So we need to test it in a couple different agencies in the United States. Those have not been identified but they’ll be some medium to large departments where we test this.”

Bostrom said since much of the research will be in the United States, he won’t likely move to England permanently.  

The project is expected to get funding next month and Bostrom said he felt he could not say no.

“We have an opportunity to accomplish something great for our profession,” Bostrom said. “I'm so proud of what we've been able to accomplish here at Ramsey County and have a sense of moral obligation to share this progress with others.”

Bostrom actually began his doctoral studies at Oxford in October and has traveled there twice in the past eight weeks, but he defended any questions of conflict. He said he has paid for his trips himself and it has not interfered with his job.

“I drop what I'm doing at the Centre for Criminology to deal with things here,” Bostrom said. “This is the priority.”

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners will appoint a sheriff to take over until a new sheriff is elected in November 2018.

Bostrom was sworn in as Ramsey County Sheriff in January 2011. Prior to being elected, he served with the St. Paul Police Department for nearly 29 years, eventually working his way through the ranks to become the assistant chief of homeland security and support services.

Bostrom has a PhD in public administration from Hamline University and has served as adjunct professor at several area colleges and universities, according to the Ramsey County sheriff’s office website.

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