When he retires December 31 from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Gary (Tex) Redlinger of Kalona will conclude a 22-year law enforcement career, all of it with Washington …
When he retires December 31 from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Gary (Tex) Redlinger of Kalona will conclude a 22-year law enforcement career, all of it with Washington County.
Originally from Keota, Redlinger was encouraged by then Washington County Chief Deputy Glen Murphy to pursue a career in law enforcement.
“So, I went down and applied with Washington County,” he said, noting he “went through the Iowa Police Academy at Camp Dodge with Carroll Kinney.”
During his career, he followed a basic principle, “What’s good for one, is good for all. You have to treat everybody the same.”
In more than two decades, he has seen changes in law enforcement, noting particularly “there is less respect for law today,” much of it taking the form “of more insults” hurled at officers.
He agreed there is an increase in domestic crime arrests, some of which he attributes to “more people reporting about it than they use to.”
He has dealt with traffic detail, chased speeders, been at accident scenes, been part of crime investigations and testified in court. One thing he has never experienced is “anyone trying to offer me a bribe. That’s never happened.”
The single incident that sticks out as the worst was the Firman Hershberger fire on Highway 1. Caused by an overheated chimney, the fire took the lives of four of the couple’s five children.
Redlinger, who handled traffic at the scene, said “it was terrible.”
In all his years, he had no desire to go to a bigger city.
“If I had to work in a city, I would not have done law enforcement,” he said.
He has “enjoyed meeting people,” seeing the job more as “one where you help people than anything else.”
He has met “good and bad,” but unlike many people currently does not see youth as a growing problem.
“There really has not been that much problem with kids,” he said.
Nor have there been any problems with the Washington City Police who shares facilities with the department in the county safety center.
“We have worked together,” he noted.
After December 31 what does he plan to do?
“More hunting and fishing and spending more time with my family,” he said, adding that at this point “there are no other plans.”
Redlinger will be honored at a Open House at the Washington County Safety Center in Washington Monday, December 20, from 2-4 p.m. A presentation will take place at 3 p.m.