In making the announcement to his friends and staff, Ferrell called the decision to not run "heart-wrenching ... I have said I would run if my health and help held up, but again, you have to be careful about what you say as both these things - my health and my help - are great and as good as ever, but after 28 years and having one of the best sheriff's offices in Missouri, it is time to let someone else try this one."
Ferrell noted many changes have been made in the office since 1976 when he was first elected. He explained the office initially of 11 employees and friends has grown to a staff of 40. Also over the years he has seen a complete change in the criminal code, judicial system and mental health statutes; a jail with a design of a 1600s dungeon replaced with a new modern facility; and new criminal threats from drugs, terrorism as well as crimes dealing with computers and the Internet.
"I have been extremely lucky to be sheriff of Scott County where I believe some of the best people in the world live," he said, adding that he has had in his employ some of the "best, hardest working, dedicated friends a sheriff could have."
Ferrell said he is proud of his record as sheriff. There have been no escapes from his jail, only one inmate died while in custody and only two unsolved homicides remain.
Ferrell began in law enforcement in 1971 as a criminal investigator for the Scott County Sheriff's Department and the Prosecuting Attorney's office. He graduated from the Missouri Highway Patrol Academy, the Missouri Sheriffs Academy and the National Sheriffs Institute of the University of Southern California.
Over the years he has attended the National Sheriffs Association Emergency Management Training in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the National Sheriffs Association Conspiracy Training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. He attends the Missouri Sheriffs Association semi-annual training conference and has held every office in the Missouri Sheriffs Association including president from 1979-80.
Currently he is a member of the advisory board of the Southeast Missouri Law Enforcement Academy at Southeast Missouri State University where he is a specialist instructor. Also Ferrell is a member of the State E-911 Advisory Board, the Missouri HIDTA (Narcotics) Board, the board of directors of the Missouri Sheriffs Retirement System and the board of directors of US Bank.
Under Ferrell's direction, the SEMO Drug Task Force was formed and continues to be an asset not only in Scott County, but also in Southeast Missouri in the fight against illegal drugs and particularly in the methamphetamine problem. The only current board member to serve on the Task Force since its inception, Ferrell has served as its project director and the secretary-treasurer.
"It remains one of the most successful task forces in the state in numbers of arrests and prosecutions," Ferrell said.
Reflecting on his years in office, the sheriff pointed out many improvements and innovations were made. "Although budgets are always tight, we have tried to give the taxpayers the most for their tax dollars," Ferrell said.
Although Ferrell's future plans are uncertain at this time, he said he is looking at opportunities in private business or may seek another office of public service.