Curry County Sheriff John Bishop announced his resignation Friday and is moving his family to Salem.
If this editorial sounds like an eulogy, it's appropriate. Bishop's departure is like a death in a community that he served diligently and with compassion for six years despite insurmountable odds.
He will be deeply missed - and we can't imagine someone else filling his position.
Since his election in 2008, Bishop has served as the moral compass for the community. He didn't play politics and wasn't motivated by rank, privilege or ambition. Not only was he a fine leader for the deputies and staff in his department, he possessed a genuine concern for others. He accepted responsibility and embraced the concept of being accountable - yet was quick to give credit to those who deserved it.
Bishop was not content to sit at his desk and was almost always found working beside his deputies at the scene of crimes, at search and rescue operations and other law enforcement operations.
Off the clock, which was not often, he could be found at local sporting events with his family and participating in community activities. He was available to the public, stopping in the grocery store to answer questions from people, and taking calls at all hours of the night.
Physically, Bishop is an imposing figure, but his attitude and sense of humor instantly put people at ease. People did not feel intimidated by him and felt he genuinely cared about their concerns.
After six frustrating years of watching his department be whittled away by budget cuts, he had to choose between his commitment to the community and the personal commitment to his health and family.
As much as it hurts us to say this, he made the right choice.
But with this choice, we've lost an important symbol of the safety to be found here.
We've lost what little momentum we've had because, with Bishop, we felt hope for a secure future.
We've lost a true professional, one we were proud to have representing Curry County.
We've lost a friend.