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CO honored for 32 years with Mich. sheriff’s office

Liz Bouts started working for Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office as a records clerk 1986 and became a corrections officer in 2002

By David Panian
The Daily Telegram, Adrian, Mich.

ADRIAN, Mich. — With many thanks for her dedication — and some gentle jabs at her short stature — the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office bade Liz Bouts a happy retirement Friday evening.

Bouts wrapped up 32 years with the sheriff’s office with a party Friday at the Adrian Armory Events Center.

“I’m overwhelmed,” she said after being presented with several gifts, including a proclamation from the state of Michigan; her retirement badge and identification card; and her badge, name tag and sheriff’s office patch from her uniform in a shadow box.

Bouts started working for the sheriff’s office as a records clerk 1986. She moved to the jail as an intake clerk in 1998 and became a corrections officer in 2002.

She said her father and brother served in the military, so a career in law enforcement caught her interest.

“I was a records clerk and wanted something more,” she said of becoming a corrections officer.

She said being a corrections officer — sometimes informally called a jail guard — “takes a lot of patience.”

“When we treat (the inmates) with respect, you’re going to get respect back,” Bouts said.

She said she was fortunate to never have to call in sick.

“I enjoyed the job,” she said.

In serving as the master of ceremonies, Lenawee County Sheriff Jack Welsh said when he reviewed her annual performance reviews, one word stuck out: “excellent.”

“Because that’s what she was,” he said.

Welsh noted Bouts frequently participated in the sheriff’s office’s community endeavors, including working with the Boys & Girls Club of Lenawee, the Christmastime Shop with a Cop, and the honor guard. He said she will continue on the honor guard in retirement.

She would come up with ideas for ways the officers could contribute to the community in other ways, Welsh said. For a recent Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Bouts suggested the jail officers wear pink gloves while search people being lodged into the jail. That idea landed her a story on a Toledo TV station.

After kidding Bouts about introducing step stools, smaller gloves and smaller firearms to the jail staff and for her appetite — “Although she is short in stature ... man, that woman can eat.” — sheriff’s Lt. Brett White said she would “assist people with seeing the right way to do things” and be the first to help officers who were having trouble with an inmate.

“There was never any doubt about her dedication to the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department,” White said.

Retired Sheriff Richard Germond said Bouts was “highly professional.” He recalled the only complaint he heard about her from an inmate. He said the man was released on bond and came to talk to him.

“That corrections officer down there jumped up on a counter and punched me in the face,” Germond recalled the man telling him.

“That corrections officer could not have jumped up on that counter without a step ladder. Get out of my office,” Germond told the man.

Retired sheriff’s detective LuAnn Bearden told the audience that Bouts’ nickname was “Mighty Mouse” and told a story of seeing a video of a fight at the jail.

“Liz pushed people out of the way to fight,” Bearden said. “She’s tiny, but she’s mighty.”

Bouts told the audience “it was an awesome 32 years” and thanked everyone she worked with at the sheriff’s office and courts.

“It is one giant family that I will really miss,” she said.

She also thanked her husband, Zach, daughter Ruby and son J.R., for “putting up with the crazy hours” that those in law enforcement often have to work.

Bouts is not completely kicking back and planning vacations. She said she is working two days a week as Morenci Police Chief Mike Creswell’s administrative assistant.

©2018 The Daily Telegram, Adrian, Mich.