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Citizens honor Boytes’ service during reception

The note on the door read, “Mr. Lynn, I’ve moved toBeauregard.”

Lincoln County Sheriff Lynn Boyte recalled reading the note onhis sixth trip to shut down an illegal beer joint just inside thecounty line shortly after he took office in 1988. Theestablishment’s move to Copiah County signaled another victory forthe new sheriff who had campaigned on ridding Lincoln County of theillegal operations.

“That’s a true story,” Boyte said Friday during a receptionhonoring his 16 years as the county’s top law enforcementofficer.

Boyte cited the incident as an example of doing something thatis morally, legally and spiritually right but may not bepolitically popular. He said officers don’t have the luxury ofstepping aside or recusing themselves from doing something they maynot want to do.

“We’ve just got to make the decision to go ahead and enforce thelaw,” Boyte said.

During Friday’s reception, several speakers praised Boyte andhis wife Beckie for their dedication and service to the county.Beckie Boyte has served as Lynn’s office manager throughout histenure as sheriff.

“That’s what today is about: Saying ‘thank you’ to Ms. Beckieand Lynn,” said Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop.

Former Lincoln County Chancery Clerk J. Ronny Smith recalledfacing Boyte on the basketball court and baseball diamond whenSmith was at Loyd Star and Boyte at Enterprise.

Smith said Boyte’s determination, hard work and integrity inschool stayed with him through his years as a Mississippi HighwayPatrol trooper and as sheriff. Smith described their shared time inelected office as a “wonderful experience.”

“He always had the people at heart,” Smith said. “He thoughtabout ways to use his resources to help the people of thiscounty.”

Smith said God gave Boyte the gift of law enforcement.

“He used that gift to bless other people,” Smith said.

Boyte has shared his law enforcement gift for 39 years, 23 as atrooper and 16 as sheriff. When two years of accrued time from nottaking vacations are factored in, the total is actually 41 yearsthat Boyte can count toward retirement.

“I’ve had a ball. I really have,” Boyte told a crowded board ofsupervisors room audience while talking about his time assheriff.

Several of Boyte’s fellow law officers were among well-wishersattending the reception.

“I’ve been honored to work with Lynn ever since I’ve been in lawenforcement,” said Franklin County Sheriff James Newman, while alsotouting Boyte’s integrity and commitment to his job.

Whether as Brookhaven police captain, assistant chief or nowchief, Pap Henderson has worked with Boyte ever since Boyte becamesheriff. The police chief had only good words for the man with whomhe has shared space in the law enforcement complex for the last 16years.

“It’s been an honor to work with him,” Henderson said. “He’sworked hard for Lincoln County and Brookhaven.”

Henderson said the police and sheriff’s offices had worked welltogether and he wished Boyte the best in future years.

“He’ll be missed,” Henderson said. “And that said, I wish thenew sheriff all the best, but he’s got some big shoes to fill.”

Following his victory in this year’s election, Post OneConstable Wiley Calcote will take over as sheriff at the end of theyear. County officials are finalizing swearing-in plans for thetransition from one administration to the next.

While Boyte counted shutting down illegal beer joints among hismost enjoyable accomplishments, he also pointed out a number ofothers.

Boyte mentioned over $46,000 in confiscated drug money that heplans to present to supervisors at Monday’s meeting. He said thatwould push the total to over $100,000 in the drug-seized fundaccount, which is money that can be put back into law enforcementto fight drugs.

Among community activities, Boyte cited the DARE program, theTriad program to help senior citizens, Crimestoppers andNeighborhood Watch programs in many areas of the county. He alsomentioned that all deputies, jailers and dispatchers arecertified.

“I think we’ve got the county in good shape from where we were16 years ago to where we are today,” Boyte said.

Lynn and Beckie Boyte, who will celebrate their 44th weddinganniversary Thursday, gave citizens the credit for helping to makethe programs successful.

“It was a lot of hard work from a lot of people and weappreciate it,” Beckie Boyte said.

The Boytes, who have two children, Lisa and Greg, are lookingforward to continuing to help others and catching up on doing somethings they may have missed during law enforcement years. The pace,though, will definitely be a little slower.

“We’re going to be a part of the community, enjoy retirement andslow down tremendously,” Boyte said.