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Chief who built Boonsboro Police Dept. 'from the ground up' retiring

August 06, 2012|By LAUREN KIRKWOOD | lauren.kirkwood@herald-mail.com
  • In this 2009 file photo, Boonsboro Chief of Police Jeff Hewett stands in front of what was then the new home of the Boonsboro Police Department. Hewett is retiring Dec. 1 after seven years on the job.
File photo

BOONSBORO — Boonsboro Police Chief Jeff Hewett, who was the first chief the town force had, will retire Dec. 1, after seven years in that post.

Hewett said Monday he will miss his fellow officers.

“I’m gonna miss the guys, of course. I handpicked everyone that was here,” Hewett said. “I’ll probably miss policing a little bit, but after 35 years, I’ve kind of had my fill of it.”

Hewett began his 35-year career in law enforcement with the Baltimore City Police Department in 1977, immediately after graduating from Boonsboro High School, according to an emailed release.

In 1978, he was hired by the Maryland State Police and worked at the Hagerstown barrack as a criminal investigator until December 1999.

Later, Hewett worked for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office as one of two resident deputies for the town of Boonsboro.

When the Boonsboro mayor and council voted to establish a police department in the town in July 2005, Hewett was appointed as its first police chief, and has served in that position since then.

Creating a police department essentially from scratch was no easy task, Hewett said.

“It was a challenge. It was starting it from the ground up, and there were so many regulations and hoops you had to jump through to get it started,” he said.

Aside from sorting out the bureaucracy of a new department, Hewett’s role as the new police chief also involved finalizing details that allowed the department to begin functioning, he said.

“Not only did I have to start it as far as paperwork, I also had to design the uniform,” he said. “I designed the patches and badges, and everything else.”

Hewett said that during his seven years as chief, the department doubled in size, growing from its original two full-time officers to its present four.

“We were bare bones as far as equipment goes when we started up,” he said.

The death of his good friend, Boonsboro Police Sgt. Rich Poffenberger, in December was one of the worst moments during his time as police chief, Hewett said.

Hewett and Poffenberger started out together with the Maryland State Police in Prince George’s County in 1978, Hewett said.

“That was kind of a devastating blow there,” he said.

Boonsboro Mayor Charles F. “Skip” Kauffman Jr. said he will be sorry to see Hewett leave the police force.

“He did a great job for us, and he’ll be missed by all of us in Boonsboro,” Kauffman said. “But I also understand you get to a certain point in life when you want to devote more time to your family and other interests.”

Hewett said he is looking forward to spending more time at home in his retirement, as well as having time to hunt and travel.

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