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"Father of the modern state patrol" dies at 92

Post by News Tribune Staff on Aug. 12, 2008 at 3:15 pm with No Comments »
August 12, 2008 3:15 pm

Here’s the press release from the Washington State Patrol:

The man credited with bringing the Washington State Patrol into the modern era of policing has died. Retired Chief Will Bachofner, 92, succumbed this morning to injuries received yesterday in an Olympia-area car accident.

Bachofner was the longest-serving chief in the patrol’s history, serving two separate terms under three different governors. But he is best known for changing the hiring standards to allow women and minorities to become state troopers.

"He was really the father of the modern Washington State Patrol," said current WSP Chief John R. Batiste. "Will Bachofner understood long before other chiefs that a police agency must reflect the community it serves."

"He was a man ahead of his time, and a chief for all time," Batiste added.

Bachofner started with the patrol in 1942 as a bridge guard during World War II, and was commissioned as a trooper on November 20, 1943.

Over the course of the next 22 years he worked his way through the ranks until January 15, 1964 when Governor Rossellini appointed him chief. Bachofner was reappointed to the position on January 11, 1965 by Governor Dan Evans.

Bachofner retired in 1971 after nearly 30 years with WSP. He then served as Executive Secretary of the Washington State Horse Racing Commission until Governor Evans asked him to come out of retirement and again serve as chief. He accepted and on January 11, 1973 was once again sworn in as Chief of the Patrol.

He served as chief of the Washington State Patrol until his second retirement on April 30, 1977, serving a total of 11 years as chief.

Bachofner also was responsible for the construction of the Washington State Patrol Training Academy leading the way to making the WSP the benchmark for law enforcement training that it is today.

Chief Batiste noted that also today, WSP was named the best law enforcement agency in the nation by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

"More than 30 years ago, Chief Bachofner set wheels in motion that culminated in our winning this award today. We still benefit every day from decisions he made, and from the leadership example he set." Batiste said.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


Editors note: Attached to this release is a photo of Chief Bachofner that the media has permission to use. Also below is an outline of his career with the Washington State Patrol.

Chief Will Bachofner’s Career

Began at the Washington State Patrol as a bridge guard during war time in Snohomish, March 14, 1942

On October 12, 1942, promoted to a radio operator in North Bend.

Became a commissioned trooper on November 20, 1943, and was assigned to North Bend.

On June 1, 1944, transferred to Renton.

On June 26, 1944, transferred to Parkway.

On November 20, 1944, transferred to Wenatchee.

On January 1, 1947, promoted to Sergeant in Wenatchee.

On September 10, 1947, transferred to Yakima.

In March 1956 he took a temporary assignment as Sergeant in Olympia.

On August 19, 1957, promoted to Lieutenant in Yakima.

In September 1957 transferred back to Olympia.

On July 15, 1960, transferred to Seattle.

In December 1961 promoted to Captain/District Commander in Yakima.

On January 15, 1964, Governor Rossellini appointed Bachofner Chief of the Washington State Patrol

On January 11, 1965, reappointed Chief by new Governor Dan Evans

On February 1, 1971, retired as Washington State Patrol Chief.

During this break, accepted a position as Executive Secretary of the Washington State Horse Racing Commission

On January 11, 1973, Governor Evans appointed Bachofner WSP chief once again and he served four more years

On April 30, 1977, Chief Bachofner retired once again as WSP Chief, after serving more than 33 years with the Washington State Patrol, 11 of which as Chief of the Patrol.

On April 8, 2005, Chief Bachofner was honored by the House of Representatives for his distinguished career and contributions to the State of Washington and the Washington State Patrol.

On May 2, 2006, Chief John R. Batiste recognized Bachofner at the Washington State Patrol’s annual awards ceremony. Chief Batiste presented Retired Chief Bachofner with the Bachofner Award for the contributions that he has made to the heritage of the Washington State Patrol. This presentation not only honored the distinguished career and many significant contributions Chief Bachofner made to the agency, but also started a honored tradition that in 2006 and forever more the Bachofner Award would be presented in honor of Chief Bachofner, to the Washington State Patrol Trooper of the Year for their hard work and dedication to the Washington State Patrol.

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