‘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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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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