Bohan starts campaign for Frederick County sheriff

STEPHENS CITY — A school security officer and retired agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced Thursday he is running for the Republican nomination for Frederick County sheriff.

Terry Bohan, 52, of Winchester, is the first candidate to enter the race. Sheriff Robert Williamson, also a Republican, said he will make an announcement about whether he is retiring or running for re-election on Friday morning.

Bohan cited community policing, eliminating illicit drugs — especially heroin, quality of life for sheriff’s deputies and keeping children safe in school as his main priorities.

“That is my purpose,” Bohan told about 50 supporters. “I ask that you help me make a difference.”

Bohan said he and his family moved to Winchester in 2005 while he was chief of the ATF’s canine training and operations support branch. He became a supervisory special agent in the bureau’s Washington D.C. office in 2009 and retired in 2013.

He and his wife opened the El Centro Mexican restaurant in Old Town Winchester in 2013. Bohan has since started working as a school security officer with Frederick County Public Schools.

Bohan holds a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.

Bohan said his first job in law enforcement, a two-year stint with the Dallas Police Department, impressed on him the need for stronger ties between police and the communities where they work.

Bohan called for the establishment of satellite offices throughout the county.

“This would make the police more accessible, more visible and more a part of the county to gather information and to have a better pulse on the citizens and issues in the county,” Bohan said.

Bohan drew his biggest applause from the audience when he committed himself to enforcement of drug laws and efforts to interrupt the supply of heroin entering the county. But he also called for a comprehensive anti-drug strategy that involves medical professionals, counselors, churches and schools.

“As much as every cop loves to get out there and do their job and enforce, we can’t arrest and prosecute our way out of addiction,” Bohan said.

Bohan said he was “heartbroken” by what he perceives as a “reservoir” of public antagonism toward law enforcement in some places. He vowed to make support of deputies one of his top priorities.

“Deputies deserve to have good working conditions,” Bohan said. “Deputies deserve to have good opportunities. Deputies deserve to have training.”

Bohan said he would like to increase the number of school security officers to allow for one in each of the county’s public junior high and high schools.

“Nothing is more important in our community than our children,” Bohan said. “I believe it is of utmost importance to partner with the schools in Frederick County to examine the security of the schools and up the number of officers in the Frederick County junior high and high schools.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or