Perry County Sheriff Gary Schaaf announced on Tuesday he would be retiring his post prior to the end of his elected term of office. The Perry County Commission accepted the sheriff’s resignation on Monday, September 19 during their regular scheduled meeting.
Schaaf’s resignation is effective at 11:59 pm, September 30. Schaaf’s current term of office would conclude on December 31, 2024.
Perry County Presiding Commissioner Mike Sauer praised Sheriff Schaaf for his dedicated service to the community as a law enforcement agent.
“On behalf of the commission, we want to thank Gary for years of service to Perry County,” Sauer said. “We appreciate the sacrifices he and his family have made for the department over the last 30 years as sheriff, and we wish him well in his retirement.”
Beginning his law enforcement career in 1982, Schaaf first took office January of 1993 after serving three terms as City Marshal for the City of Perryville, and over the next three decades, went on to handily win eight terms as sheriff.
Sheriff Schaaf used the Perry County Sheriff’s Office official social media page to announce his departure. Sauer said the commission would offer little comment on the matter of Schaaf’s resignation, or the lawsuit the sheriff brought against Perry County in 2018.
“Although his official resignation was signed on Monday, out of respect for Sheriff Schaaf, it was the intention of the commission to allow Gary the first opportunity to announce his departure,” Sauer said. “He has faithfully served his post as a law enforcement agent and earned the right to tell the public in the way he saw fit that he was stepping down. We are aware of the narrative Gary has painted regarding his resignation, but in an effort to protect his privacy, we offer no further comment on the terms of his resignation.”
Sauer went on to say the county was moving on to the next chapter.
“The county is grateful to put the last four years of court proceedings to rest,” he said. “We have done what we felt was in the best interest of the community, and we are looking towards the future and striving for a positive outcome for Perry County as well as Gary Schaaf.”
The Perry County Commission will appoint an individual to serve as interim sheriff to serve in Schaaf’s vacancy. Sauer said the commission is taking advisement from multiple agencies and internal law enforcement sources on what individual would best serve the role temporarily, while they investigate the most recent state law on how the next sheriff is selected.
Should the appointment of an interim sheriff not occur immediately following the midnight deadline on September 30, per Missouri State Statute, the county coroner assumes the responsibilities of the sheriff until a commission-appointed individual is sworn in as acting sheriff. William Bohnert is the current coroner for Perry County. Bohnert was first elected in 2016 after a lengthy career in law enforcement.
“It is our intention to fill the vacancy as soon we can feasibly and legally do so,” Commissioner Sauer said. “We can’t appoint someone new until the current sheriff is officially no longer serving.”
To serve as sheriff, an individual must be able to meet the following requirements:
- No felony convictions
- Resident taxpayer and Registered Voter of the county
- Resident of the county for more than 1 year before filing for office
- Capable of efficient law enforcement
- Has a valid peace office license at the time of filing for office
- Citizen of the United States
- Resident of the state 1 year next preceding election
- Is not delinquent in the payment of any state income taxes, personal property taxes, municipal taxes, real property taxes on the place of residence as stated in the declaration of candidacy
- Is not a past or present corporate officer of any fee office that owes any taxes to the state