RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - Tommy Boswell was born and raised in Russell County, Alabama and has spent most of his life serving the community he loves.
At the age of 61, he has decided to retire.
He's been the sheriff for 21 years but has served in law enforcement in the county for nearly 40 years.
"I graduated from Auburn and went to work in the Phenix City school system teaching school. I was a reserve deputy. A good friend of mine was a deputy sheriff and I started riding with at night and I got hooked on it," Boswell said of his start.
In 1974, he became an investigator for the Russell County District Attorney's Office and later, Chief Investigator for the Sheriff's Office.
"The seven cases that I was chief investigator on that got the death penalty are probably the highlight. All of those cases were serious homicides and required a tremendous amount of work and planning and trials and two of those seven have been executed," he said.
With Boswell as sheriff, the department got an expanded jail, new offices and a top of the line training facility. He also helped create the Russell County Fueling Authority so government agencies in the county could have a way to purchase gasoline.
Now that his work is done, Boswell says he's confident in the man that will fill his shoes, the current chief investigator Lieutenant Heath Taylor.
"He preached to us for 21 years a simple message- do right. That was the message- do the right thing."
Sheriff-elect Taylor says Boswell brought the department up to speed with technology and has left a lasting legacy.
Now, he's looking forward to a little time off- but not too much.
"I won't get up at 5:30 every morning like I have for the past 30 years but I do have some consulting opportunities. I may teach some. I have, I think, something to give the law enforcement community," Boswell explained.
Boswell is working on a second masters degree in criminal justice. He has an undergraduate and graduate degree from Auburn University.
He's also looking forward to traveling and spending time with his family.
His last official day as Russell County Sheriff is January 16th, 2011.