William Randolph 'Bill' Probstfield served as Washington County Sheriff from 1983 to 1992.

ProbstfieldThe Washington County Sheriff's Office is paying tribute this week to William Randolph "Bill" Probstfield, a former county sheriff who died last week at the age of 77.

Probstfield died Friday, Jan. 12, at Oregon Health & Science University hospital, the sheriff's office announced on Wednesday.

Probstfield was born in Pendleton and graduated from The Dalles High School in 1958.

A Navy veteran, Probstfield, joined the Washington County Sheriff's Office in 1968 and was appointed sheriff in 1983, after the retirement of former Sheriff Warren Barnes. Probstfield was elected to a pair of four-year terms in 1984 — when he defeated Jim Spinden, his eventual successor — and 1988.

"His legacy will always be remembered by the WCSO family," a statement on the sheriff's website said on Wednesday.

During his decade-long tenure, Probstfield added the county's first K-9 unit, as well as the county's first SWAT team and DARE program.

In 1985, Probstfield appointed an advisory committee which led to the creation of the Enhanced Sheriff's Patrol District, which voters approved in 1987. Taxes generated by the district, which covers unincorporated areas within the urban growth boundary, including Aloha, Metzger and Bull Mountain, enable the sheriff's office to provide deputies outside cities. The district serves about 200,000 residents.

Voters last year renewed the district levy, which now runs through 2023.

Probstfield retired in 1992 and was succeeded by Jim Spinden. Probstfield returned to The Dalles. In 1995 he married Janet Alice Krech, who died of cancer in 2012.

Probstfield authored the 2003 book, "Smell the Rose, Blow Out the Candle," which offered a personal perspective on his 15-year struggle with emphysema.?

Funeral arrangements are pending. A celebration of his life will be scheduled.

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