Skamania County Sheriff
Patrick James Bond
To most all of us, simply Pat.
I didn’t know him before he was hired in 1998 as a patrol deputy. He reminded me of a young Tom Cruise. His hair was perfect most all the time, he was like the coolest guy in school. Not much younger than I was, but as a cop, Pat was so much smarter than I probably have ever been.
He made me laugh like I never laughed before. He made everyone laugh. He still does.
It wasn’t too long after he came here that he was moved into the role of detective. I had the task of supervising him, but somedays, I knew I was in over my head because he had that edge; that knowledge, and an intuition about things that often escaped me. I think we were both just on different playing fields during that time of our law enforcement journey. I needed what he had, and he respected what I brought to the table every day.
He was so disciplined. I think that came from his time in the Air Force where he worked as a police officer patrolling the base in Minot, North Dakota. Oh! the stories he told about his Air Force days. They never got old, and there were so many. He’s such a great storyteller.
One thing was certain right up to the day he left; he was in love with his work. He loved being in law enforcement and he lived to make a difference. He told me many times as his retirement date was approaching, “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve been doing this for nearly 40 years…” (between the Air Force, his time at the White Salmon Police Department and then here in Skamania County).
His soft spot? Children. He loved anything we did that provided an interaction with children and law enforcement: Our programs in the schools, just going to a school to have lunch with the kids, helping with football games. He loved to watch high school baseball and basketball games. Having two boys of his own and being such a competitive athlete himself, he just couldn’t get enough. Pat was an advocate for children. Especially those in our community who didn’t have what the others had. He would single them out, spend time with them talking and learning and loving.
After a mother murdered her children near Lone Butte several years ago, Pat and I, along with others were there to carry those children off the hill. It was a shattering experience for all of us and I know it severely impacted Pat from that day forward. We talked many times about it over the years.
Things he could not stand: Drugs, drug users, drug sellers, and just about anyone who stole, lied, or cheated their way through life. Now, we probably shared a dislike in this area, but even in his distaste, he found a little room to counsel and direct some of those in whom he saw hope and a chance for change. This was especially evident when young children were impacted by the selfish actions of a parent. On several occasions, he worked with people to help turn their lives around and was successful. These people found a connection with Pat at a level of government they had never experienced, and he made a difference for them.
I appointed Pat to be my Chief Deputy in 2003 when I took the Office of Sheriff. He was highly respected and loved by the patrol and detective staff and I knew I had the right man in that position. In 2015, Pat took on the role of Undersheriff and so many more responsibilities.
Always on the outside, so even keeled; sometimes behind closed doors he shared more deeply than I thought possible. He was and is an impressive creation of God.
My counselor for 20 plus years; my sounding board when difficult decisions needed to be made. He was my second in command, but always my first go-to at all times of chaos, critical and high stress incidents and especially when we faced decisions that were bound to have some major fallout.
Pat retired last week - a month before I leave the Office. I asked why? He was never clear in his answer, but I knew. He always looked out for me. This was his way of telling me that he didn’t want any focus on him to detract from my last few days as Sheriff. It would have. I would have made sure of it.
I have been fortunate to have strong support while serving as your Sheriff. Maybe some of it was me. I know much of it was the great staff of patrol deputies, corrections/dispatch officers, and the civil staff. But always, behind the scenes (if he had that choice), was Pat. Any success I’ve had can- and should be- attributed to all of those who served with me over the years. Dave Cox was phenomenal; Marlea McKenize… so quiet and steady, yet she kept me in line; Tina Anderson, a true and loyal servant; David Waymire and Jason Fritz- both doers and guys that get things done. These people served in my administration so admirably and with pride. But it was evident to all of them that Pat played a pivotal role in all that we did. They all knew, and they all appreciated him more than he will ever know.
There have been other great public servants that have come and gone. I could write of them as well, but none have ever given as selflessly and with as much care and compassion as Pat showed over the course of his tenure. I wish he could have served you as your Sheriff, but I just couldn’t convince him to run. He was tired and I understand.
A patriot to his core. He loves this country, and he served it with pride. He loves his wife and family and would stop at nothing to protect them. He worked tirelessly for all of you and would have died to save any one of you. I know that.
He hated the winters here. Of course, on his last day it snowed. It was the most difficult of days for so many reasons. There is much I wanted to say to him but wasn’t strong enough to get it out. I left him in the parking lot with a hug and told him I wouldn’t have wanted to ride the trail with anyone else. It was about all I could get out before I had to walk away. I am going to miss him. You are going to miss him, even if you’ve never known him.
I pray that those who will soon begin to serve all of you in the coming months and years learned a little bit from Pat about how to treat people, and I hope that his leadership traits will impact the operations of the Sheriff’s Office in the future.
I am excited to see what the next chapter will be for Pat. He is excited, I know, to try something new. I have no doubt that it will be something that he finds satisfying and fulfilling and something that he will give all he has to, because that is what he does.
There is much more that could be shared. He won’t like the fact that I wrote this to all of you, but I needed to tell you. I felt you needed to know. Had he stayed another month, he might have talked me out of writing this but, he left -so I had to make the call and he would respect that.
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