Pasco has been a remarkable success story, nationally known, for so long now that it's hard to remember when it wasn't.
A quarter century ago, it was the smallest of the Tri-Cities, fiercely proud of its independence and had graffiti covering many of its buildings' walls like ivy.
A dynamic city manager, Gary Crutchfield, and a number of progressive city council members changed the city's boundaries and its future.
And in doing this, they were assisted in no small part by Denis Austin, hired as chief of police 16 years ago and now getting ready to retire.
He may not have laid any sewer pipe or power lines, but he has been diligent in reducing the graffiti and in coping as best he -- or any police agency -- can in dealing with the visible, moral and safety issues raised by gangs.
The crime rate is down in Pasco during his term.
He was and is a strictly business chief, not much for news conferences or show-boating.
He has the respect of the people who work in his department and deserves the gratitude of the people of Pasco for his hard work.
And he also deserves the gratitude of the people of Kennewick and Richland.
Crime and gangs are like tornadoes; they do not recognize political boundaries and go where they wish. Gangs, however, do look for voids in law enforcement.
Around the Tri-Cities they look in vain.
Despite tight budgets and the resulting constraint on manpower, our police departments do exemplary work.
Austin exemplifies that dedication.
We are glad to see him enter a hard-earned retirement and hope Pasco can find soon a replacement worthy of this solid predecessor.
Happy trails, Denis.