An old English proverb states, “All good things must come to an end.” It is with a sense of regret that I acknowledge it is true. Wilmore Police Chief Steve Boven’s retirement brings a multitude of thoughts.
I lamented in last week’s column the growing sense of lurking danger that has permeated modern life, even in a small town like Wilmore. Having a capable, competent chief of police has been a buffer to those feelings.
With a tenure of 21 years, Boven has seen many changes in the world. George H.W. Bush was president of the United States and Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, sparking the first Gulf War. Cheers was the highest-rated television show, and no one had ever heard of the Kardashians.
The 1990 Census showed Wilmore with a population of 4,215. Asbury was still known as a college rather than a university, and Corbitt Drive ended at Kinlaw. U.S. 68 was a dangerous, winding road prone to fatalities, and many people still remembered that Joe Thacker had once been the mayor.
That seems like a lifetime ago. Another Bush has come and gone as president, the terrorist and the protestor have both been named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year, and reality programming has taken over television. Wilmore’s population has grown to 6,134, an increase of 68 percent.
If some are prone to liken Wilmore to television’s fictional “Mayberry,” it’s easy to see Boven as an Andy Taylor. Though Boven is more polished and well-educated, his approachable style has been just as appreciated, making him every bit as much a hometown hero. He will be greatly missed.
Boven’s leadership and expansion of the police department in Wilmore was prescient. He knew more than most that our sleepy little town was changing and that a modern, well-trained police force would be needed to keep the peace. A good leader prepares for his departure, and Wilmore residents should be thankful that plans have been laid for a smooth transition.
It’s hard to imagine what Wilmore will be like in another 20 years. I don’t think any of us is that smart. Bill Craig and his successors will have big shoes to fill, and challenging times are ahead with the continued fight against increasing problems with drugs, robberies, and break-ins. With our help, I’m sure they will be up to the task.
I can’t imagine retiring from bucolic Wilmore to a farm in Michigan, certainly not in the midst of winter. But I do wish the Bovens safe, peaceful, and happy days ahead. Certainly Steve Boven has already granted 21 years full of days like that for Wilmore.