Former Russell County Sheriff Thomas F. Boswell Laid to Rest


Former Russell County Sheriff Thomas Boswell Jr. was laid to rest on Wednesday, July 15 at the age of 71. Family, friends and former coworkers honored his memory and his 21 years of service as Sheriff. Boswell’s death was unexpected.

During Boswell’s tenure, he served as President of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association in 1998. In addition, he led the Statewide Criminal Justice Information Commission. After dedicating over 40 years to law enforcement, Boswell retired from the force in 2011 and handed the reigns over to Sheriff Heath Taylor.

“You see, no one ever worried or questioned where Sheriff Boswell stood. He always stood on the side of doing what’s right.”

Prior to his law enforcement career, Boswell was a teacher in the Phenix City School System. He earned his college degree at Auburn University. Sheriff Taylor shared many memories at the funeral, but found it fitting to end on a quote from former Auburn Football Coach and legend Pat Dye.

“Life is short, so don’t waste any of it carrying around a load of bitterness. It only sours your life, and the world won’t pay any attention anyway.”

After the funeral, Boswell’s procession led by law enforcement traveled to Lakeview Memory Gardens. Boswell was born July 4, 1949 and passed away on July 11, 2020. He is survived by a wife of 50 years, son, daughter and brother.

“Sheriff retired, Thomas F. Boswell, is 10-42 for the final time.”

The law enforcement profession is one that is steeped in tradition. One such tradition is the use of “Ten Codes” on police radio. Law enforcement officers originally used “Ten Codes” in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s to communicate over the radio using as few words as possible. The codes, “10-4” and “10-20” quickly worked their way in to American Culture and remain a part of our everyday vernacular in the Twenty-First Century.

One “Ten Code” that is not as familiar to the general public is “10-42”. This particular code is used to indicate an officer’s end of tour. While 10-42 is most frequently used when an officer has completed his tour of service for the day, it is also used in conjunction with funeral proceedings when an officer has been killed in the line of duty. In accordance with law enforcement tradition, law enforcement agencies that lose an officer in the line of duty will often coordinate a time at the end of the funeral proceedings to perform the officer’s final radio transmission. At that time, a dispatcher from the officer’s department will call the officer’s badge number out over the loud speaker three times and ask the officer to respond. Having received no response, the dispatcher then announces the officer is now “10-42” and continues to give the date on which the officer ended his tour of duty.

Categories: Alabama News