‘Best possible protection’: changes at police department

Kevin Lynch

resigns to be

chief in Elgin

Hood River Police Capt. Kevin Lynch has resigned his post to take over duties as chief for the town of Elgin.

Lynch, who has been employed with the local agency since 1985, is looking forward to the move for two key reasons:

* His family owns a vacation cabin on 500 acres of nearby forest land So, he and wife, Dawn, will be closer to the scenic property they use as a recreational base.

* Since Elgin has less than 2,000 residents and a limited tourism trade, Lynch said the pace is likely to be slower. So, he will have more of an opportunity to become personally acquainted with the citizens he serves.

He had been considering a second run at the elected office of Hood River County Sheriff in 2008. But Lynch, 48, felt it would be a mistake not to take advantage of the new career challenge. Especially since Dawn has found employment as a rural mail carrier in the same location.

“We really enjoy spending time in that area and this job was just too good an opportunity to pass up,” said Lynch.

Instead of supervising the patrol activities of 15 officers, he will have two individuals immediately under his command, with the possibility of hiring two others.

Lynch begins his new job on July 25 and his daughter, McKenzie, 15, has already begun familiarizing herself with the gymnastics program offered at La Grande High School, about 18 miles northwest of Elgin. His son, Morgan, 20, is currently insulating buildings and plans to attending college in Ashland this fall.

Lynch’s parents, Robert — the former county sheriff — and Joan will also be relocating to Elgin. But Kevin and Dawn will return frequently to Hood River to visit her family members and their network of friends.

A seven-member panel interviewed Lynch for the job and he was impressed with the depth of their questioning. His professional opinion was sought on the handling of several mock scenarios. For example, he was asked to respond to numerous complaints about strangers coming and going at all hours from one house in a neighborhood.

Lynch replied that it was likely the dwelling was being used for drug deals but could not be searched without officers taking the time to investigate for probable cause that would justify a warrant.

“I found these questions stimulating and the interview process very interesting,” said Lynch.

He was born and raised in Hood River County, leaving only to attend college and to serve a one-year tour of duty as an international peacekeeper in war-torn Kosovo.

Lynch said it will be difficult to leave the Gorge and the department that he has served with for most of his career. He remembers the highlight of his service as arresting two bank robbers as they exited the banks — a rare move in law enforcement.

“I’m very proud of the officers here. They have a good attitude and do an excellent job of serving the people of Hood River,” he said.

Lynch has been impressed with the leadership of Bruce Ludwig, hired as Hood River’s chief last year. Since he held that job for several months in 2004, Lynch respects the pressure that Ludwig is often under — but handles very professionally.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Bruce. He’s a great guy and a great chief,” said Lynch.

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