Ben Roeber has been working at the Boise County Sheriff’s Office since he was a high school student.
That was back in the 1990s, when the sheriff’s office had a 72-hour holding facility.
“I would work some weekends in the jail part-time,” said Roeber, a 1998 graduate of Idaho City High School. “I worked it as a summer job.”
Roeber, who turns 36 on Friday, will also celebrate 18 years at the sheriff’s office that day. He’s been sheriff since 2007.
This anniversary will be bittersweet because he’ll be leaving at the end of the month to take a job with the state. He isn’t talking publicly about of his new position yet, other than to say it’s in the emergency services and management realm.
Some in the county may rue the timing of Roeber’s departure, with so many other things going on, including the controversy surrounding the county prosecutor’s recent DUI arrest. But the sheriff said that couldn’t be helped.
“I wasn’t offered the position until late last week,” he said. “Some things you can’t control.”
It’s an opportunity that was too good to pass up, he said. He’s looking forward to better hours, more time with his family and a lot less stress.
“Smart phones are great, but you also have no break,” Roeber said. “Honeymoons, births of kids, all of those things ... and still having to address something [at work]. There’s always something going on.”
Chief Deputy Dale Rogers, a retired Boise officer who has spent the last decade of almost 40 years in law enforcement in Boise County, will step in to manage things after Roeber leaves.
The sheriff’s office has about 20 employees and five reserve deputies. The annual budget for the office is about $1.4 million.
One of the biggest challenges for Roeber, and many rural sheriff’s departments, is recruiting and retaining qualified deputies. Entry level pay is about $30,000, so it can be difficult to keep deputies after two years, when they can make lateral transfers to bigger, better-paying departments in the Treasure Valley.
Roeber said he worked hard while sheriff to keep his office within budget and improve relations with commissioners.
“When I came in, the biggest hurdle was mending and building relationships,” he said.
He’s proud of his role in efforts get school resource officers in schools, doing community outreach and adding a K9 officer.
“I feel like I can hold my head up high,” Roeber said. “I served the citizens of Boise County to the best of my ability.”
He and his wife have two young children. They plan to live in Idaho City and carpool to their jobs in Boise.
“We love it up here,” he said. “We’ll be able to commute together. We’ll get to spend an extra two hours together that we haven’t gotten.”