After decades in Stevens County law enforcement – including two terms at the helm – Sheriff Kendle Allen has decided to retire at the end of the year.
“It’s been 40 years,” he said. “I think it’s just time to get out.”
On Wednesday, Allen announced he wouldn’t be seeking a third term as sheriff. The move was somewhat unexpected – previously, he’d indicated a desire to serve four more years in law enforcement, and he’d already printed campaign signs that dotted lawns and lined sidewalks.
Allen said he’d been considering retiring since late last year, but couldn’t pull the trigger until he felt he had a proper replacement.
Around the same time Allen announced his retirement plans publicly on Facebook, Chief Deputy Brad Manke declared his candidacy.
“With his full support and endorsement, I am officially announcing my campaign for Sheriff of Stevens County,” Manke wrote on Facebook. “I look forward to your support and continuing to serve the citizens I’ve sworn to protect.”
Manke has worked for the sheriff’s office for about 20 years, a year and a half of that as the second in command. He was also the fire chief at the Colville Fire Department for two years, and briefly worked at the Colville Police Department.
Another deputy, Mike Berry, who has served with the sheriff’s office for four years, declared his intention to run for sheriff last July.
Allen’s decision to retire comes on the heels of a controversy involving Lorrie Sampson, the county coroner. Since late last year, Allen and Sampson have been in a public, and at times heated, feud that has resulted in a disjointed system of reporting and responding to deaths within the county.
Allen was adamant Thursday that the two were completely unrelated.
According to Manke and Berry, both candidates have filed for candidacy ahead of the Friday deadline.
Berry, who drew the support of Sampson and some sheriff’s deputies, said he wished Allen the “best of luck.”
“I appreciate his 40 years of service,” he said.
As for his next step, Allen declined to comment. At 61, he said he’s unlikely to retire outright. He said a career in politics could be in his future.
“This job always gets in the way of something,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I won’t get back into some type of work after I take a bit of time off. It may involve quite a few things.”