You will be missed, our brother

Law enforcement officers bid farewell to county detective who tackled tough cases
by: Jaime Valdez, More than 1,000 law enforcement officers and others stood as Randy Nunnenkamp’s casket passed by Tuesday afternoon at the Sunset Presbyterian Church.

Gold badges on the blue and gray uniforms were striped in black.

The sheriff, offering a eulogy stretched with long pauses, fought back tears.

A mournful 'Amazing Grace' played on the bag pipes echoed through the church.

On Tuesday, dozens of deputies and officials from the Washington County Sheriff's Office joined a crowd of 1,100 at the Sunset Presbyterian Church service for 47-year-old Randall Lee Nunnenkamp, a county detective who was killed last week in a Yamhill County motorcycle accident.

An investigation into the accident, which involved two other vehicles, has not been completed.

Members of the Oregon Blue Knights, a national nonprofit motorcycle club for active and retired police officers and representatives from a half-dozen other police agencies, also attended. To allow county officers to attend the service, local police agencies covered deputies' duties on Tuesday.

'Very genuine'

The three-hour memorial featured stories and fond memories of the quiet, compassionate man whose devotion to his work was legendary.

Nunnenkamp was one of the best-known officers in the county. He had been employed with the county sheriff's office for 17 years, spent time on patrol and seven years as a DARE officer in local schools. He spent the past four years investigating sex crimes against children and advocating on behalf of the victims he met.

'Randy was very genuine, very honest,' said retired sheriff's office Sgt. Scott Ryon. 'He was not one to beat his own drum.'

Ryon, who hired Nunnenkamp as a detective in 2002, said it was difficult to find detectives who would work in the child abuse unit. Nunnenkamp, however, took his assignment without complaint and, along with his wife, Mary, devoted much of his off-duty hours talking with county residents about how they could protect their children.

He rarely took a day off. Nunnenkamp kept his desk nauseatingly neat. Always busy, he would tell his supervisors when new cases were opened, 'I'll take care of it.'

And, every year on Nov. 10, the date the U.S. Marines Corps was created, Nunnenkamp, a former Marine, quietly nodded to fellow former Marine and Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon, and wished him a 'Happy Birthday.'

Gordon, recalling the moment during his eulogy Tuesday, quietly said, 'You'll be missed, our brother.'

Tireless crusader

Nunnenkamp was born July 28, 1958, in Superior, Neb., to Roger and Norma Nunnenkamp. His family moved to Portland in 1960.

A Rock Creek resident, Nunnenkamp graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1976. Shortly after that he joined the Marine Corps, where he was a helicopter mechanic.

He joined the Washington County Sheriff's Office in 1989.

Described as a tireless crusader, Nunnenkamp taught at the state police academy and served on the Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force, as well as on the Washington County Multi-Disciplinary Team.

Earlier this year, he received the Oregon Police Officers Association Child Abuse/Sex Crimes Detective of the Year award.

Nunnenkamp was buried Tuesday at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

He is survived by his parents; his two brothers and sisters-in-law; and his wife, Mary; his sons, Jeremy and Brett; his daughter, Kimberly; and two grandchildren.