Osage County sheriff sets retirement date

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

Osage County Sheriff Ty Koch has revealed his intentions to retire at the end of this year.

The sheriff’s announcement was made Monday morning during the weekly meeting of the Osage County Commission meeting. Koch, the sheriff since 2005, informed commissioners that he would not be running for re-election and plans to retire on Dec. 31.

Koch has been with the Osage County Sheriff’s Office for 27 years and has served as sheriff for the last 11 of those. He was appointed to the county’s top law enforcement position following the April 2005 death of Sheriff Wes Penland.

Like his predecessor, Koch started his law enforcement career under longtime Osage County Sheriff George Wayman. He began as an officer at Fairfax Police Department in 1988 and, in 1991, became a patrol deputy with the OCSO. He was promoted to sergeant in 1996 and to lieutenant investigator in 1997, and worked as lead investigator over homicides and personal and property crimes.

Since 1995, Koch has been an active participant in the District 10 Drug Task Force, which provides drug enforcement for Osage and Pawnee Counties. He was supervisor of the unit for several years and has been project director for the past three years. In 2004, Koch was made chief criminal deputy by then-sheriff Russell Cottle. He was promoted to undersheriff by Penland in 2005.

Koch defeated four other candidates in a 2006 special election to serve out Penland’s term. In November 2006, Osage County voters elected the Fairfax Democrat to another term as sheriff by more than a 2-to-1 margin. He was re-elected without an opponent in 2012. (One other candidate filed but was declared ineligible for the office.)

The Osage County Sheriff’s Office consists of 61 law enforcement officers — 34 sworn and 27 civilian,

Officials said Koch had informed OCSO personnel of his retirement plans prior to the Monday announcement — which, nonetheless, came as a surprise to many in the community.