Jefferson County: A Historical Overview

Jefferson County, organized in 1818, has evolved significantly, from its early days with the establishment of its first sheriff and jail to facing challenges such as prison escapes and embracing technological advancements in law enforcement. Under the guidance of notable sheriffs, the county's Sheriff's Office has modernized and expanded, now serving a population of over 224,000 with advanced training, equipment, and technology. The continuous improvement and commitment to professional excellence have been hallmark traits of the sheriff’s office, ensuring the safety and well-being of Jefferson County's residents through centuries of change.

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Butch Meyer, Mike Huskey, Virgil Lorenz, Tim Betz

Establishment and Early Years

Jefferson County was organized on December 8, 1818, when Missouri was still a territory. The county’s formative years saw the appointment of its first sheriff, Andrew Scott, and the establishment of Herculaneum as the county seat in 1819. The construction of the county’s first jail in 1820 marked the beginning of its legal and law enforcement infrastructure.

Moving the County Seat and Building Infrastructure

In 1839, legislation was passed to move the county seat to Hillsboro, a more central location. This period saw significant construction efforts, including the completion of a new courthouse in 1840 and a jail in 1841. By the mid-19th century, the population growth necessitated further expansion, leading to the construction of a larger courthouse and jail complex in 1865.

Advancements in Law Enforcement

The mid-20th century brought technological advancements to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. In 1956, the introduction of police car radios and a fingerprinting system by Thomas E. Mirgain marked significant modernization. This era also saw the county navigating challenges such as prison escapes in 1965 and 1993, highlighting the evolving nature of law enforcement challenges.

Community Support and Historical Milestones

The late 1960s saw the involvement of the Civil Defense Auxiliary Police units in assisting with large events or disasters, showcasing community involvement in law enforcement. The narrative of the sheriff’s office is also marked by milestones, such as the appointment of the first and only female sheriff, Helen Church, and the longest-serving sheriff, Walter “Buck” Buerger.

Modernization and Accreditation

Under the leadership of Sheriff Oliver “Glenn” Boyer, the sheriff’s office underwent significant changes, including jail renovation and the introduction of new communication and computer technology. The accreditation by C.A.L.E.A. in 2005 underscored the office’s commitment to professional excellence.

Continuing Legacy

Today, under Sheriff Dave Marshak, Jefferson County’s Sheriff’s Office serves a population of over 224,000, continuing its tradition of improving law enforcement practices through training, equipment, and technological advancements, more than two centuries after its establishment.

Former Sheriffs

Sheriff Dave Marshak 2017-Present
Sheriff Oliver "Glenn" Boyer 1992-2016
Sheriff Walter "Buck" Buerger 1965-1992
Sheriff A.R. McKee 1961-1964
Sheriff Helen Church 1960-1961
Sheriff Leo Church 1953-1960
Sheriff Amos Lee 1949-1952
Sheriff Bryan Moss 1945-1948
Sheriff Amos Lee 1941-1944
Sheriff A.R. McKee 1937-1940
Sheriff T.E. Lanham 1933-1936
Sheriff Carl Clark 1929-1932
Sheriff Ray Williams 1925-1928
Sheriff Raymond Brady 1921-1924
Sheriff Frank Clark 1918-1920
Sheriff Harry Dahl 1913-1917
Sheriff John Bechler 1909-1912
Sheriff Henry Dahl 1907-1908
Sheriff Thornton Hensley 1903-1906
Sheriff William Long 1899-1902
Sheriff Oscar Ogle 1895-1898
Sheriff Edward Maupin 1889-1894
Sheriff George W. McFrey 1886-1888
Sheriff Henry Hurtgen 1884-1886
Sheriff John L. Weaver 1882-1884
Sheriff Thomas J. Jones 1878-1882
Sheriff John Williams 1876-1878
Sheriff Benton "T.B." Moss 1872-1876
Sheriff John Williams 1870-1872
Sheriff Fred Luchtemeyer 1868-1870
Sheriff John Williams 1866-1868
Sheriff Charles "C.C." Fletcher 1864-1866
Sheriff Jerome "J.B." Dover 1862-1864
Sheriff Oscar Dover 1858-1862
Sheriff Augustin Wiley 1854-1858
Sheriff James McColloch 1850-1854
Sheriff Gabriel "G.J." Johnson 1849-1850
Sheriff Joseph A. Hammon 1848-1849
Sheriff John Hammond 1844-1848
Sheriff Mark Moss 1841-1844
Sheriff John Hammond 1840-1841
Sheriff James McChristian 1834-1840
Sheriff Ammon Knighten 1830-1834
Sheriff Gabriel "G.J." Johnston 1829-1830
Sheriff Issac Roberts 1828-1829
Sheriff William Ellis 1826-1828
Sheriff Joseph Boring 1822-1826
Sheriff George Hammond 1819-1822
Sheriff Andrew Scott 1819