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Collin County’s Sheriff Terry Box: 'I'm not Retiring!'

By J.B. Blocker

Sheriff Terry Box is not retiring! On a recent Facebook announcement, Terry let all his friends know before he made the public announcement. This sheriff is socially interactive! He has nothing to hide and regularly post food for thought, warm wishes, and local events. His passion for antique autos keeps him in the mix locally. You might see him on any given weekend showing his Purple ’55 Chevy.
You can count the current Texas sheriffs who have served as long as Terry on one hand. In the world of Sheriff’s, he is a respected role model who embraces the ever changing world of technology while respecting the human factor of his staff and the counties revolving door of inmates.
“I truly enjoy my work. As long as my health permits, I feel I can continue to contribute to a better Collin County.”
I would be amazed if anyone dared to challenge the popular local boy who is considered a role model for Law Enforcement leadership. With an easy going management style and firmly engrained work ethics, his staff and the departments reputation for courteous humanitarian handling of its responsibilities is well documented. He truly leads by example.

Collin County Sheriff Terry Box has held his elected office since February 1985, and he has served with distinction. This sheriff does not look like the typical Texas lawman. While many wear their Stetsons and side arms and are usually dressed in a white pressed shirt, blue jeans, and boots, this gentle and unassuming lawman dresses casually and unadorned.
“Heck, I showed up in baggy shorts and a golf shirt to the Sheriff’s Convention. Some might call it travel wear!” recalls the seasoned lawman. “You can spot the new Sheriff’s pretty easily.” Normally, Sheriff Box wears dress slacks and a polo type shirt. He could more easily pass as a history teacher at the high school.

Local Boy knows his Neighborhood
When the Sheriff took office, Collin County’s population was around 200,000. Now with the tremendous growth of Plano, Frisco, Allen, and McKinney, the count is closing in on a million. It won’t be long!
The southern county border catches a bid of Carrolton, Dallas, and Garland as well as parts of Richardson. In all, 31 cities and towns are inside the county’s border. An incredible blend of the newest urban developments and rural historic Texas can be experienced in Collin County. Nearly two thirds of the county is still considered rural.
Box’s Upholstery in McKinney was Terry’s fathers business. The future president of the Sheriff’s Association of Texas was born and raised in McKinney. After graduating from McKinney High, he began his career as an 18 year old dispatcher. He has dated his wife Rendy since he was a junior in high school and they are still dating after 42 years. “My wife is the kindest, most caring person I know, beams the sheriff. I am sure she gets me more votes than I do! When she goes shopping, she ends up buying things for others as much as for herself.”
“When I was 21, I became a peace officer in Plano. I took the job because I just couldn’t see arresting people I grew up with in McKinney and knew so well.” But 10 years later he was lured to the sheriffs’ office with the rank of Lieutenant and was the Deputy Chief three years later. After the death of close friend Sheriff Joe Steenbergen in 1985, Terry Box was appointed by the Commissioners Court to complete the term and has been Sheriff Terry Box ever since.
After a special election in ’86 where he faced four opponents, the Republican Party candidate has basically run unopposed ever since. It’s is no wonder! Collin County’s sheriff has maintained an impeccable reputation that has led to special FBI training at Quantico and an appointment by Governor Bush for the Texas Commission on Jail Standards where he became the Chairman in 2000.
“Collin County is very fortunate to have a man like Terry Box as their sheriff”, claims Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson. “When Randall County built their new county jail we decide to model it after Collin County. Theirs was one of only two jails to successfully integrate a state of the art Direct Supervision Facility. His progressive style of management and his kindness, courtesy, and respect for human rights has helped me to see a different side of law enforcement and jail operations. We sent our staff down to McKinney to train at their facility. He and his staff were so accommodating and all of us were grateful and impressed with the leadership and management. When I started in law enforcement, I was part of the bag em and cage em mentality. Now, I see my job in a more humanistic light of protecting the rights of every individual.”
The new facility takes in account that not all who are held in a county jail have been found guilty of the charges. Many awaiting trial and are held in custody are later found to be innocent. “You have to treat people with humanity first and always.” declares the Sheriff. This facility helps maintain that balance.
“The sheriffs’ senior staff views Sheriff Box as an inspiration with great ethics, and an approachable style of leadership that makes everyone strive to be a kinder, better person.” this from long time friend Major Mike Anderson.
There isn’t enough space to list his resume of boards, directorship, accreditations, and community service involvement. The modest Sheriff doesn’t even list them on the county web sight like most others do. Always early to work, he disdains being lazy or late but forgives others just as easily as he leads by his example of respecting each citizens rights.
Terry’s humanity showed itself in spades when he discussed the challenges of his Border County brethren. “They live a totally different life than I do! They have to fear for their staff, their families, and even their own safety every day. Not me!” In Lou Gehrig type style he closed our interview with his appreciation for his family and his home. “I am always aware that I am one of the truly lucky people to have a job I love in a great county in my home town.”

To support Terry or just to share this story, there is a FB link below.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article, JB. Sheriff Box has set a high standard for leadership in Colin County