January 1 will mark the end of Sheriff Rocky Watson's law enforcement career. I personally think he was/is one of the real good ones. He started out in the US Marines in the 1960's in which he survived those years. The USMC was an ideal training ground for public safety as a career. The first thing they learn is to keep their head down.
He started out in the Spokane Police Department. Then with the Post Falls Police Department where he served as assistant police chief from 1970-1977. At this time he ran successfully for the office of Kootenai County Sheriff. Rocky served until 1981 at which time he started up a private security company, called the Watson Security Agency. He successfully ran that firm for 20 years, then sold out after he was appointed Sheriff to take the place of the resigning sheriff, Pierce Clegg.
Rocky was subsequently re-elected in 2000, 2004 and 2008. While we will miss his steadfast dedication to public safety, we will also miss his sense of humor which was unsurpassed. Rocky could depend on showing up at Bayview and Athol Daze, dragging a ball and chain wearing a striped prisoner suit. He was always showing up at neighborhood events and active in the community.
After six years, the purchaser of the Watson Agency folded up to leave a vacuum in the private security business. When asked what he would do after his term as Sheriff, he replied,(paraphrased) I'm going back into the security business. Look for a rebirth of the Watson Agency.
While we are celebrating the ascension to Sheriff by a well deserved Ben Wolfinger, it is important to realize how much easier it is for Ben to inherit a well run department, of which he was no small part of that excellence. The community will miss Rocky as Ben Wolfinger, 29 year veteran of the department takes over.
Thanks for a great job., Rocky. Semper Fi.