Retired Longview police officer Alan Buchholz died Tuesday at St. John Medical Center surrounded by family and friends, the Longview Police Department announced Wednesday.
Buchholz, 58, died of natural causes.
Hired in May 1995, Buchholz retired last April. During his nearly 16 years with Longview police, he worked as a K-9 officer, a member of the traffic collision team, a hostage negotiator and neighborhood policing team member. He also was involved in the opening of the Longview police satellite office in the Highlands neighborhood, where he lived for several years beginning in 1997 as part of former Chief Bob Burgreen's experiment in community policing in crime-prone neighborhoods.
Buchholz was reluctant, but his wife, who had grown up in the Highlands, convinced him to give it a try.
"I'm here to make a difference," Buchholz said in 1997. "We've decided to win (the neighborhood) back one house at a time and this is the first one."
Neighbors — especially children — enjoyed seeing him walk up and down the street with Bruno, his K-9 companion from 2000 until the German shepherd's death in 2009.
"Alan was everyone's friend and treated people with respect and compassion. In turn, everyone loved and respected Alan," Police Chief Jim Duscha said in a press release. "His upbeat, positive attitude was contagious. While in the presence of Alan, people could not help but smile. He brought out the best in others because he was one of the best."
The city honored him several times for his bravery on the force. In 2002, Buchholz received a meritorious service award for taking charge of a crime scene and providing first aid to victims after someone had randomly shot at houses and vehicles on Minor Road in Kelso.
In 2003, he received a letter of recognition following a case in which an armed, barricaded man held his estranged wife at gunpoint for 19 hours. Buchholz worked with a team of negotiators who managed to convince the man to release the hostage.
In 2005, he was recognized for his involvement in a case where a man wanted for assaulting his ex-girlfriend was spotted entering her house. Buchholz helped clear the house and found the man sitting in the kitchen holding a long-barreled pistol to his mouth. The officer and the search team backed out of the home and blocked off the area while awaiting the SWAT team.
Buchholz also received letters from community members and other police departments thanking him for his outstanding service and help in many situations.