Retirements are always bittersweet, and Dan Hyson's last day as a King City police officer April 4 was no different.
Hyson held the title of the longest-tenured King City employee at nearly 20 years, so his departure left a big gap in the small, close-knit staff.
At a retirement party at City Hall, Hyson was praised by Mayor Ken Gibson, police Chief Chuck Fessler, Municipal Court Judge Michael J. O'Brien, a Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue crew and his fellow officers.
"I will take a lot of what you taught me and carry it with me," said police Officer Brian Sigler.
A surprise guest was former TVF&R King City Station 35 Capt. Troy Spisla, who transferred to another station but was working an extra shift with the local crew and took the opportunity to present Hyson with a gift bag of TVF&R clothes, saying, "We know police officers always want to be firefighters, so here's some firefighter gear."
And Officer Shelby Thatcher, who also owns the Tigard Baskin-Robbins franchise across 99W, brought Hyson a large quantity of eggnog ice cream.
"Looking back, it went by fast," Hyson said. "I can't believe I'm here retiring."
Before King City, he worked at Nike in production but was going to be sent to Asia. Hyson had been a reserve officer for the city of Portland for two years and applied for a job but didn't get it. Then he applied at King City and was hired.
"Irene and I had just gotten married, and we were planning to move to Las Vegas if I didn't get this job because she had family there," Hyson said. "So if I hadn't gotten this job, I'd be working at a casino in Las Vegas."
A lot has changed in 20 years, starting when Hyson was first recruited.
"There was a burglary problem when I first came in, and the (former) chief said that we should have a bike patrol on the graveyard shift, so we started a bike patrol. It seems like two days ago."
Among the memorable incidents was the "mac-and-cheese bomb" at a local bank.
"A suspicious package was found, and this was right after the Woodburn bank bombing," Hyson said. "We called the Portland bomb squad who came and dismantled it to find mac and cheese."
Another incident that sticks in his mind is running into a "herd of Chihuahuas" while he was driving on patrol on Elsnor Road.
"Fifteen of them escaped from the barn where they were living and made a run for it," Hyson said. "We rounded them up." He added that it wasn't a case of hoarding or animal abuse, just a lot of dogs living under one roof.
But Hyson's most memorable case was a murder-suicide in July 2005 when he was the responding officer to a call from a concerned friend of Nancy Nagel, 64, and her husband, Roger Nagel, 69, who lived on King Charles Avenue.
Investigators concluded that Roger Nagel shot his wife with a shotgun and then took his own life. There was no sign of a disturbance or a suicide note, but a 12-gauge shotgun was recovered at the scene.
"I was the one who discovered the bodies," Hyson said. "That was one of the worst things to happen in the last few years. We deal with a lot of people with mental health issues. It's a daily occurrence on some level here. And when I first started, there were no homeless."
Hyson said that although he thought about moving to a larger force over the years, "I'm really glad I stayed with a small police agency."
Hyson said that he and his wife Irene are buying a new house, and he was planning to go to work part time alongside Irene at Costco. He also wants to play more with his granddaughter and read. "And I want to get back into the shape I was in when I started," he said. "And maybe we'll travel to Panama or Costa Rica."
Hyson received a plaque that read, "In appreciation of your service to the citizens of the city of King City – 10/1/97 – 4/4/17."
He also was given a framed citation that read, "We would like to take the opportunity to honor your service… Officer Hyson has served the citizens of King City with honor, commitment and integrity. With a subtle sense of humor, you have made your mark. With your experience, you helped us along. With your commitment, you enriched our lives. With your lunch, you made us hungry. With your dogs, you made us jealous, and with your injuries, you made us cringe.
"From the lords and ladies and officers of King City, we wish you well in retirement and whatever you do."