Nov. 30 didn't only signify the end of the month it also signified the end of a ten-year tenure for Raymond Police Sgt. James Samplawski.
Sgt. Samplawski is a native of the area graduating from South Bend High School. His law enforcement career began in Oxford, California before serving in Guam with the military during a 20 year Navy career and then ended with his law enforcement career with Raymond Police. He will still be working as a reserve officer from time to time for the department.
The Herald had the opportunity to catch up with Sgt. Samplawski and talk a little bit about his experience with the department over the past ten years and what he plans to do now. When asked if there was any highlights of his career with Raymond Sgt. Samplawski stated, "No, just worked with a bunch of good guys and girls." When asked what he planned to do now that he's retired, Sgt. Samplawski stated, "I plan on getting my pilot license for my drone so I can fly it commercially and make some side money with that."
When asked if he planned to continue with Willapa Harbor Drone he stated, "I'll probably be moving up to Graham, but I'll be coming down here quite a bit. I'm gonna stay on the reserve it sounds like and help them out here." So locals should expect to see the drone in the sky from time to time along with the amazing aerial photos of the area many have come to enjoy seeing.
Running into a few of his colleagues after the interview, we asked them what it was like working with Samplawski the last ten years.
Speaking to Cpl. Arlie Boggs who is currently the acting active Sgt. commented. "He's a really good guy and he's a lot of fun," before looking at Samplawski and saying, "You can pay me that $20 later," as they both laughed. Walking out the department door we spoke with long time Raymond Police receptionist Dana Williams about Samplawski and she stated, "I can't, I just can't. If I start, I'll start crying. It's just too hard." It was a common theme around the department as just about everyone was sad to see him leaving.
Speaking to South Bend Police Chief Dave Eastham about working with Sgt. Samplawski from his neighboring department he stated, "It was not only an honor, but a privilege to work with Sgt. Samplawski. I cannot say enough about how good of a guy he is. We will miss working with him."
Catching up with Raymond Police Chief Chuck Spoor about his retiring officer he stated, "He's a great guy and was an asset to the department and city. He was always very diligent and I'm sad to see him go. But I'm glad I'll see him as a reserve officer."
Sgt. Samplawski has been a highly respected officer not just within his department, but with all the local communities he has served in his career. When we spoke with local residents many described Sgt. Samplawski as 'genuine' while another stated, 'he's a really nice guy and was very good at his job."
Speaking to Michelle Layman at Willapa Printing who is a long time friend of Sgt. Samplawski she stated, "I already miss him. He was automatic to doing things for the community. Always went above and beyond." Many are sad to see him leave, but believe he will leave a lasting impression for his younger colleagues and provided them with a strong role model of what it means to be an officer.
After the interview with Officer Samplawski and speaking with several of his colleagues. I had the chance to reflect on my personal experience with him almost exactly a year ago. Last year Sgt. Samplawski on the day before Thanksgiving came to my home and personally gave my wife and I a gift certificate to help out for Thanksgiving. And it left both of us in tears. I felt including this with the article was important because this is an example of exactly the officer he was and how much he personally cared about the communities he served.
Being an officer isn't just about enforcing the laws or busting criminals, it's about serving and protecting the public. Officer Samplawski throughout his career has went above and beyond the calling from standing for our nation in the military to partoling our cities, he has always answered the call and for that:
On behalf of the Herald, all the communities you have served, your country, and your colleagues, thank you Sgt. James Samplawski for your service and we all wish you the best with your future endeavors.