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Former FL Sheriff Ends Long Battle With Cancer

Former FL Sheriff Ends Long Battle With Cancer

In this 2001 photo, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ed Bieluch and McGruff the Crime Dog lead students at Belle Glade Elementary School in a Christmas carol following the presentation of the monthly "Do The Right Thing" awards. [Palm Beach County Sheriff's Depa

Palm Beach Post via YellowBrix

September 27, 2010

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL – Former Palm Beach County Sheriff Ed Bieluch, a career lawman who worked his way through the ranks and ventured into politics to fight crime and cronyism, then became an Anglican priest, died Sunday. He was 68.

“He just did anything he could do to help anyone at any time,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Ann Burke, who worked with Rev. Bieluch for more than 20 years. “Even at his own risk, politically and personally. He used to always say, ‘I’m a cop, not a politician.’ ”

Rev. Bieluch grabbed headlines when he retired from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and challenged Sheriff Bob Neumann, a politically connected former FBI agent. With less than half the campaign contributions, no college degree and no political experience, Rev. Bieluch handily defeated Neumann in 2000.

As sheriff, Rev. Bieluch quickly reopened a faith-based jail dorm that offered life-skills training. He no longer required two years of college for deputy applicants, crediting military and other law enforcement experience along with academics.

Rev. Bieluch took back raises that Neumann had given to several executives before he left office and removed six executives he considered to be political hires by Neumann. He took some heat from conservative organizations when he extended medical coverage to domestic partners. He committed himself to the Eagle Academy and the Sheriff’s Youth Camp, programs for at-risk youth, even spending his own money.

Once in office, Rev. Bieluch made appearances based on where he could do the most good, not gain the most votes. When troops from the nearby armory left for Iraq, he made sure he was there. When the troops arrived home, he was at the airport to greet them.

He made regular appearances at the jail, walking among the inmates and asking what they needed. He showed up at crime scenes, not to look over his deputies’ shoulders, but to show he supported and valued their work and dedication.

“He tried to get down in the ditches,” said William Tremer, a retired undersheriff who worked with Rev. Bieluch for more than 30 years. “He was a big supporter of his people and he was very loyal. He always said, ‘Do the right thing.’ ”

Rev. Bieluch filed to run for office again in 2004 but later changed his mind. In August 2005, less than a year out of office, he was ordained an Anglican priest. The moved stunned outsiders, but not those who knew him well.

Thomas Burroughs, organist at Holy Spirit Anglican Catholic Church in Palm Springs, remembered Rev. Bieluch showing up for Mass after volunteering all night at the sheriff’s office.

“I was impressed that he had been up all night doing free work and, nonetheless, felt it was his duty to God to be present,” Burroughs said.

Delivering a sermon about a year ago, Rev. Bieluch told the parish he had cancer.

While undergoing treatment, he continued his work. When he learned that a Fort Myers parish had lost its priest, he drove across the state twice a month to say Mass. Even this year, he continued his volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity.

“He epitomized the role of public servant,” Burke said. “When you envision a law enforcement officer, you should envision him.”

Rev. Bieluch is survived by his wife, Lynn; son, Jeff; and daughter, Katarzyna. Services are pending.


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  • 412-4_max50

    gfdccso

    over 3 years ago

    282 Comments

    RIP

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    R.I.P.

  • 21_max50

    philfroggy

    over 3 years ago

    1564 Comments

    Rest in Peace Sheriff

  • Cuffs_badge_gun_1__max50

    revcarey70

    over 3 years ago

    234 Comments

    RIP Sir.

  • Thinker_max50

    darsavmo

    over 3 years ago

    11344 Comments

    RIP and condolences to his family...

  • Bill-roberts_20money_max50

    copig682

    over 3 years ago

    72 Comments

    RIP, Sheriff.

  • Memorialbadge_max50

    MAYES969

    over 3 years ago

    3608 Comments

    rip sir

  • Me_last_wk_max50

    delano388

    over 3 years ago

    4318 Comments

    RIP

  • N1023300020_30025442_7610_max50

    KAICHARESE

    over 3 years ago

    2780 Comments

    RIP

  • Flowers_20_234__max50

    KarenLee

    over 3 years ago

    3856 Comments

    They broke the mold when he was born....RIP Rev/Sherriff Bieluch

  • Gods_team_max50

    IowaNinersFan

    over 3 years ago

    15116 Comments

    RIP Sheriff Bieluch.

  • Stmaarten2_max50

    bumperdog831

    over 3 years ago

    264 Comments

    RIP

  • Joefriday_max50

    alexy

    over 3 years ago

    3970 Comments

    Thank you for your service sir. Your earthly work is done here sir go home to the god you served so well

  • Mardi_gras_cat_max50

    DonnaLynn

    over 3 years ago

    10478 Comments

    Rest in Peace. My condolences to your family and friends.

  • Ribbon_max50

    mkiprotection

    over 3 years ago

    2384 Comments

    RIP and prayers to the family.

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