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Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley last week announced his plans to retire as of June 1, and we had two reactions to the news:

First, of course, we wish Riley a happy retirement: After 33 years with the Linn County Sheriff's Office, he's earned the right, many times over, to step down and enjoy whatever the next chapter brings. 

So this second reaction is just self-serving: Riley has been such a class act as sheriff that we had hoped the 56-year-old would be willing to serve another term or two. 

During his tenure, Riley and his staff reopened the 48-bed L Block in the county jail and hired the additional deputies required to do that, a much more difficult task than the sheriff had anticipated. But it's a big deal, because it means that Linn County has an open bed available for lawbreakers, a luxury other counties do not enjoy. (Hello, Benton County.) 

The Linn County Sheriff's Office earned accreditation during Riley's time at the top, a task that is considerably more difficult that it might seem to outsiders, but is an important step to ensure that the department is using the best available practices.

The Sheriff's Office took over the mismanaged county dog pound during Riley's term, and the turnaround there has been nothing short of miraculous. 

The office also dealt with ramifications resulting from the legalization of marijuana. Law enforcement agencies around the state are coming to grips with the impact of legalization.

So it's been a busy four years since Riley took over from Sheriff Tim Mueller, who resigned before the end of his term. 

But we appreciated Riley's low-profile approach to the job, and the spirit in which he approached it. In that regard, we were struck by comments the sheriff made to Democrat-Herald reporter Alex Paul: Riley said he hoped to be remembered as someone who "rode for the brand." 

That phrase, "riding for the brand," dates back to the 1800s and the days of massive cattle drives. Cattle were branded with the ranch owner's mark. To "ride for the brand" was meant as an expression of loyalty to one's employer.

During his career with the Sheriff's Office, Riley never forgot that his brand comes from the citizens of Linn County. He's served that brand extremely well. We wish him nothing but the best in his retirement. (mm) 

Hit-and-run update

Although news accounts from the Legislature tend to highlight divisions between the parties, it's still worth remembering that a lot of what legislators get done gets handled in a bipartisan way.

For example: Republican Rep. Andy Olson's bill to clarify the responsibilities of drivers involved in hit-and-run collisions passed the Senate unanimously on Monday and now moves to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature.

Olson's House Bill 4055 requires drivers to take reasonable steps to cooperate with authorities after they realize they may have been involved in a hit-and-run collision. It was inspired by the horrifying 2013 incident in Forest Grove in which two children were run over and killed while they were playing in a leaf pile.

The driver of the car that hit the girls testified that she felt a bump while driving over the leaf pile, but believed that she had hit a rock. Eventually, she was convicted of failing to perform the duties of a driver. But a judge with the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned the conviction, ruling that Oregon law does not require a driver to return to the scene of an accident after leaving and later learning that someone was injured or killed.

Democratic Sen. Floyd Prozanski carried the bill on the Senate floor, which says something about the bipartisan support for Olson's bill. It's a solid legislative accomplishment — although we hope its provisions never have to be invoked. (mm)


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