Wahkiakum County Sheriff Jon Dearmore died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound about 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
The death occurred at his Grays River Valley home. The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office will be in charge of any investigation.
Dearmore is survived by his wife, Lori, and their daughter, Kaelee.
Jon Dearmore had over 25 years in his law enforcement career. He started in the Chelan and Long Beach police departments and has spent the last 18 in Wahkiakum County Sheriff's Department. He served as undersheriff, the department's second in command, under Dan Bardsley's eight-year tenure as sheriff. He also served as a school resource officer (SRO), bringing drug resistance education to students, and he was the department's first canine officer with Digger, the drug sniffing dog.
In a 2010 interview with The Eagle, Dearmore said his interest in law enforcement started when he was a child. He spent a day with an officer in his home town and came away knowing law enforcement would be his career.
"My major focus since I was a kid is to protect and serve," he said. "My job as a police officer is to serve the people of my jurisdiction; as sheriff, it's service and to provide public safety.
"As a law enforcement officer, if you don't have a heart for service, you won't be effective."
Dearmore worked to link the sheriff's department and the community in what he called "the cohesive partnership we have with the citizens of the county."
Over the years, the department reached out to citizens through the school resource officer and drug prevention program, through the establishment of the Citizen Police Academy in which citizens go through a scaled back version of state Basic Law Enforcement Officer Training, and through the development of the Search and Rescue program.
"The way I measure success," he said, "is whether I leave my corner of the world better off than when I found it.
"As an individual and as sheriff, that is my goal."