After 32 years of service, lead law enforcement officer says he'll retire this fall
by: Chase Allgood Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon, seen here talking to residents about Connell House in Cornelius in 2008, will retire at the end of November.

After 32 years of service to the county, Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon told his staff Wednesday he will retire at the end of November.

In a message to sheriff's office staff, Gordon said he struggles with the idea of retiring before his term ends, but changes in Oregon's Public Employees Retirement System benefits led to his decision to retire early. Recent changes in state law affect the amount of benefits public officials may receive, based on their retirement date.

Gordon, 55, praised his staff for 'the good training and work you do, and the resulting traditions of quality you have each contributed to this office,' he said. 'You are an amazing group of crime fighters who have the most honorable of missions.

'I'm very proud to be associated with each of you.'

Sheriff of Year

Named the Oregon State Sheriffs' Association 'Sheriff of the Year' in 2006 and 2008, Gordon is known for his stances on concealed handgun privacy, the state's mental health client placement and the medical marijuana program, said Sgt. David Thompson, sheriff's office spokesman.

Gordon joined the Washington County Sheriff's Office in the fall of 1979 as a corrections officer, after serving four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was named sheriff in 2002. He has held the positions of corrections deputy, senior corrections deputy, sergeant, lieutenant, patrol commander, jail commander and chief deputy sheriff.

National accreditation

During Gordon's first elected term, he led the sheriff's office to its initial national accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, in which the agency maintained compliance with more than 400 standards comprising five review areas.

Those included policy and procedures, administration, operations, investigations and support services.

Gordon also has been recognized for his role as chairman of a statewide group that authored the Oregon Jail Standards. Oregon sheriffs credit the series of guidelines with helping improve local jail operations through the last decade, Thompson said.

The Washington County office remains the largest law enforcement agency, and the only sheriff's office, in Oregon to hold national accreditation.

Gordon has also served as lead facilitator of the Oregon State Sheriff's Association Command College. As of this year, the leadership-training event has graduated more than 400 supervisors and command officers from sheriff's offices throughout the state.

Recommends undersheriff

Gordon recommended current Undersheriff Pat Garrett as his successor in his retirement announcement to the Washington County Board of Commissioners last week.

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