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One last patrol for a retired sheriff

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Retired Wasco County Sheriff Bill Bell served as the top lawman in that county from 1968 to 1971 before taking a job with the state police academy. He rode on a final patrol with Wilsonville police last week as part of Marquis Care Wilsonvilles New Chapters program for its residents. Back in 1971, law enforcement technology did not include much, if anything, that could remotely be considered digital.

That’s the world of policing inhabited by Bill Bell, who served as sheriff of Wasco County from 1968 to 1971. Today, Bell is retired and lives in Wilsonville. And the tools used by current police officers are replete with technology only hinted at in 1960s cinema.

“Everything from the concept of a computer in the car that automatically reads license plates and talks to you, that’s ‘Star Trek’ stuff,” said Sgt. James Rhodes, chief of the Wilsonville Police Department. “He was sheriff in 1971, so you can imagine the vast difference. They had a radio channel, if it worked at all, and now we have two radio channels, cellphones, computers, automatic license plate readers, data bases, it’s amazing.”

Bell joined the city of The Dalles Police Department in 1957 and worked for the city until he was appointed sheriff in 1968. He resigned from that post in 1971 to take a position with the Board on Police Standards and Training, the forerunner of today’s Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

On Aug. 27, Bell got a firsthand look at today’s law enforcement thanks to the collaboration of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and Marquis Care Wilsonville, the post-acute rehab and long-term care center where he lives.

“It’s called the New Chapters program,” said Marquis Care Administrator Jaron Sue. “We came up with the idea, and it’s really a ‘Make-a-Wish’ type program to provide new chapters in our residents’ lives. It’s something they’ve always wanted to do or something that was a big part of a career or something they were passionate about that we’re trying to make happen for them.”

For Bell that meant a chance to hop in a modern patrol car specially equipped for traffic enforcement and spend time patrolling Wilsonville’s streets with Deputy Josh Eagle.

Though Bell declined to share his story, Marquis Care Wilsonville Social Services Director Heidi Crispin said he definitely enjoyed his ride. It even included an authentic traffic stop, Crispin said.

“I know that Eagle was wonderful and explained all the technology and the computer system and they spent probably 20 minutes at least just going over the car and what’s new,” Crispin said. “They actually made a stop, so that was cool. He’s walking taller today, you can tell he really enjoyed it.”

Before fastening his seat belt for the ride, however, Bell and other Marquis Care Wilsonville residents were given a brief demonstration of one of law enforcement’s oldest tools — one that has four legs and a keen nose.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Kilo is a 65-pound Belgian Malinois who lives, works and patrols with Deputy Hilary Robinson. Here, Kilo subdues a suspect played by Wilsonville Police Chief James Rhodes as part of a demonstration last week at Marquis Care Wilsonville.Deputy Hilary Robinson is only a few months from retirement, but she’ll be leaving an enduring legacy with the sheriff’s office thanks to her work with the agency’s canine partners.

Back in 1994, Robinson helped Clackamas County become the first police agency in Oregon to use dogs both for patrol and human detection as well as narcotics and explosives detection.

Today, there are roughly 130 certified K-9 units in the state, and Robinson has played her part; the Oregon Police Canine Association has certified her as a master trainer of both patrol and detection dogs.

Robinson was joined at Marquis Care Wilsonville by Kilo, her 3-year-old Belgian Malinois. Kilo is trained for both narcotics detection and patrol work and obediently gave demonstrations of proficiency in both areas, although, it took a bit longer than expected for Kilo to find a key provided by an audience member for one demonstration.

“I hope that key doesn’t open anything important,” laughed Robinson.

A few minutes later, Rhodes went ahead and donned a protective suit used to train dogs to subdue human subjects.

Belgian Malinois are an energetic breed known for having a strong prey drive. Thus it was no surprise to see the 65-pound Kilo fly across the lawn and clamp her strong jaws around the arm of the suit.

“She was cross-trained at 8 months,” Robinson said, explaining her role in training dogs for different agencies around the state. “I do all the basic training here before they go out on the street. We’re fortunate our agency supported me and I got the training I need to certify all these dogs.”

For Rhodes, this type of outing is invaluable when it comes to community relations. Besides, he said, it’s always fun to reach out and link past and present generations around a common bond.

“Marquis Care reached out to us knowing that law enforcement is near and dear to his heart,” he said. “It’s an honor for us to be able to do something like this, put on a show, take him for a ride-along and share this, a fellow law enforcement officer, a guy who we all respect for the time he served. It’s the very least we can do and we’re happy to do it.” by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Kilo is a 65-pound Belgian Malinois who lives, works and patrols with Deputy Hilary Robinson (right). Here, Kilo attempts to subdue a suspect played by Wilsonville Police Chief James Rhodes as part of a demonstration last week at Marquis Care Wilsonville.




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