Mineral County sheriff to resign Aug. 1

Clark Fork Valley Press/Mineral Independent | July 2, 2020 6:10 PM

For the second time in less than three years, Mineral County will be looking for a new sheriff.

The department is also in need of a new undersheriff after Steve Trollope retired Friday, June 26.

Current Mineral County Sheriff Mike Boone announced his resignation in a letter to the county commissioners. It will take effect on Aug. 1.

Boone originally intended his resignation to take at 5 p.m. Friday, July 3, but later opted to push it back.

“Do to my medical condition I have incurred while on the duty I can no longer safely or effectively do the job of sheriff per state statute,” Boone wrote in his resignation letter.

Boone, who wasn’t avaiable for comment, also wrote “I can say that I have left the county with the full funding of an additional deputy through a DOJ COP’s Grant. Several hundred thousand dollars in grant funding through a Stonegarden Grant, for the use of overtime to fight criminal activity. Another grant that will supply every patrol vehicle for a total of 11 automated external defibrillators for life saving efforts at no charge to the county. Which should be delivered sometime the month of July.”

The county received a $225,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to pay for a deputy.

“The COPS grant is to hire a deputy; no other funding is in the grant other than wages. In the past, the grant would pay for the first three years and the county was on the hook for the fourth year,” Boone said.

Boone wrote in his resignation letter his decision was not unexpected.

“This is nothing that was unexpected as we have been discussing this in the past. I assume the county has some type of contingency plan and I wish you the best,” Boone said. “I will hire two deputies prior to my exiting to help with coverage. You will have to fill the COP’s Grant position at your convenience.”

But County Commissioner Laurie Johnston said Boone’s resignation was definitely a surprise to her.

“I haven’t checked my email this morning, but I’m surprised,” Johnston said Monday morning. “We haven’t officially received the letter, but it will be interesting.”

Johnston acknowledged Boone’s medical condition he cited in his resignation letter.

“Mike suffered a shoulder injury in 2013 when he was a deputy and it’s been an ongoing thing for him,” Johnston said.

The county issued a statement saying it “appreciates Mike Boone and Steve Trollope’s service to the community and wishes them well in their future endeavors.”

The county has had trouble staffing its sheriff’s office over the years. Deputy AJ Allard resigned from the department in February 2020, according to a social media post.

In November 2017, Boone’s predecessor, Tom Bauer, abruptly resigned. Boone was appointed to take over which he did. He won an election in 2018 for the position.

Jail issues have also plagued the county. It closed in November 2017 a few weeks before Bauer’s resignation. Low pay was cited as one reason for the high turnover in the department.

The jail has yet to reopen and those arrested in the county which require incarceration are taken to other facilities, including neighboring Sanders County Jail and Montana Department of Corrections.