With 27 years of service on the White Salmon police force, including nearly 24 years as police chief, Ned Kindler has been a rock of stability for the community.
His long tenure with the department, however, will come to an end in a few months.
"I'll be leaving at the end of May," Kindler said. "It's been a long and good time, but I'm ready."
Kindler's entire career in law enforcement -- except for a short stint as a reserve officer in Ellensburg -- has been in White Salmon.
He hired on in the late 1970s, and in November 1980 was appointed to the position of police chief by then-Mayor Cecil Jaksha.
After retiring, Kindler said his plan is to simply take it slow for awhile.
"For the first couple months, I'm not going to do a whole lot of anything," Kindler explained. "Then I'll try to find something part-time to do, to keep myself busy."
Kindler has seen a lot of changes over the years, including the successful consolidation of the police departments of Bingen and White Salmon in 2000.
Currently, Kindler oversees eight full-time officers. When he started in 1980, there were three officers on the force.
Looking back over his long career in White Salmon, Kindler recalled two incidents that he said stood out as being especially memorable.
"One of the most intense memories involved the bluff fires in 1994, and trying to coordinate all the agencies," Kindler said.
The other event was the June 2001 murder-suicide incident in Husum, when Daniel Swanson of Vancouver shot and killed 83-year-old Margaret Baker, then later shot and killed himself.
Kindler, who was one of the first officers on the scene that day, added that the Husum incident represented the only time he was under hostile fire during his law enforcement career.
"That was the most impressionable, because we were being shot at," Kindler explained.
Kindler said he believes he is leaving the department in strong condition for the next chief.
"There is always room for improvement, but I think it's in good shape," he said. "We have some good people working in the department. Whoever gets the position will walk into a great community and a great department."
He added that he will do whatever he can to help the next chief have a smooth transition.
Klickitat County Sheriff Chris Mace offered praise for Kindler's solid record of service.
"To stay and be involved in law enforcement as long as he has is a real credit to him," Mace said. "I've known Ned even before I came to Klickitat County, and have found him to be one of the nicest people I've ever met. I've enjoyed working with him over the past six years I've been in Klickitat County. I certainly wish him the very best on his retirement. There are going to be some big shoes to fill."
Kindler and his wife Vicki, who serves as the chief court clerk at West District Court, will remain in the area.
"This is a great community," Kindler explained. "The people are great, and the support has been overwhelming. I can't stress enough how I appreciate the support of the different mayors and the different council members. It's been a fantastic working experience. It's a great place to raise kids and a great place to work and serve the public. I have no complaints at all. This is home."