KOUTS | Being police chief in a town like Kouts is mostly a matter of doing paperwork, so Kouts Chief James Boyce is retiring -- to handle the paperwork for a veterinary lab owned by him and his wife.
Boyce's retirement after 20 years in police work was announced at Monday's town Council meeting.
Boyce, 46, joined the force in 1998 after working for five years with the Porter County Sheriff's Department, and he was named chief in 2007.
"I hate to do it," he said of retiring. "The highlight of my police career was getting hired by Kouts. They have provided me with a good income and benefits, and I can't say enough for the town. I will never forget them guys. If they ever need me, I will do whatever I can for them."
Boyce's father and grandfather both served as Gary police officers and his father was killed in the line of duty when Boyce was in third grade. Boyce said he carries his father's badge under his vest every day at work. He said he still meets with his father's former partners on occasion.
"If I didn't own my own company, I would stay down there for another 20-25 years."
Boyce said he and his wife bought the company four years ago. His wife, a pathologist, worked there for 20 years, and the owner was looking to retire. The business has 30 employees and serves 150 to 180 veterinarians as far away as Indianapolis.
"My wife runs it," he said. "She's working 60 to 70 hours a week, and she needs me to come up there and do clerical and paperwork and let her do the lab work."
Boyce said he's been doing his shift as police chief from 5:30 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m. and then spending four or five hours helping at the lab for some time now.
"I've done (police work) for 20 years, and I love the town to death," he said. "I've enjoyed it, but I think I need to concentrate on my wife and help her as much as I can. I did the best that I could for the town, but, if I'm not giving 100 percent to the town, like I did 10 years ago, it's time for someone else to step up."
His retirement is official at the end of August. The council asked him to recommend a successor. The department has three full-time and 15 part-time officers.
"No matter who I pick, I will have two people mad at me. So, I will put my best top three in to them, and they can pick."