By Esme Murphy

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Ramsey County’s highest-ranking law enforcement officer has spent 30 of the last 40 business days in England, while still getting a paycheck here.

Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom announced Tuesday he is resigning to head up a research program at England’s Oxford University in England.

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Bostrom, who is halfway through his second term, defeated four-term incumbent Bob Fletcher in 2010.

In an emotional announcement, Bostrom said his resignation will be effective on Jan. 3, 2017. He accepted a position as a leader of an Oxford research group that will study best hiring practices for police officers.

“I remember my first interaction with a police officer, it was my dad. I was 3,” Bostrom said.

Under state law, the Ramsey County Board will have to choose a new successor to serve until the next election in November of 2018. Sheriff Bostrom was vague at Tuesday’s news conference on how much time he has spent working in England in recent weeks.

“I’d have to look at my calendar, but I mean, when you say working on, I’ve probably been working on it every day. It’s been on my mind and emails and other types of things. So, physically being here or physically being in England doesn’t really change that interaction, so I know it might sound kind of odd,” Bostrom said.

WCCO asked Bostrom how Ramsey County taxpayers — who pay his $151,000 annual salary — may be wondering how much he is focusing on his work in England as opposed to being the county’s sheriff.

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“I am sheriff 24 hours a day and I drop what I’m doing at the Center of Criminology to deal with things here. This is the priority,” Bostrom said.

He explained the way he is paid is different.

“I know it might be a little bit confusing and it might seem evasive, but I’m not being evasive,” Bostrom said. “We don’t do time sheets, we don’t have any of those types of things.”

When we told him that most taxpayers do time sheet, his reply was “I know.” He was also unable to tell WCCO how many days he had been in England over the past year.

“I’ll get back to you with that answer,” Bostrom said.

The sheriff’s department did get back to WCCO late Tuesday afternoon, and said the sheriff has been in England for 30 business days over the last eight weeks. He has been a student there since Oct. 10.

Sheriff Bostrom says he has not received any pay yet from Oxford University.

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The Ramsey County Board will choose his successor.

Esme Murphy