Officers mark Wulle's departure from bench with full honor

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Superior Court Judge John Wulle got a surprise send-off from city and county officers Friday afternoon as he left the Clark County Courthouse on his final day as judge.

About 60 local law enforcement officers waited for Wulle at the back of the courthouse, lining each side of the stairs and walkway.

"He's always been pro-cop to us," said Vancouver Officer Mark Brinski, who helped organize the event. "That's not that common in this day and age."

Brinski said he wanted to send Wulle out the proper way and show that the police support him as much as he supports them.

As Wulle walked through the doors, an officer began playing the bagpipes and kept piping until Wulle walked up and gave him a hug.

"My god," Wulle said as he stood before the officers. "I am shocked. Thank you all for being who you are and working with me."

Vancouver police Cpl. Chris LeBlanc handed Wulle a plaque recognizing his years of service and his support of law enforcement. Wulle presided over Superior Court since 2001. Before that, he served four years as a District Court judge.

"Judge, thank you very much. You will be missed," LeBlanc said.

The officers stood at attention and saluted him while courthouse employees looked on.

"I thought you were here because I stole a robe," Wulle said jokingly.

As he descended the stairs and walked down the aisle, he shook every officer's hand and stopped for a few hugs.

He turned around at the end of the aisle as everyone applauded, leaving with a wry smile and the respect of those law enforcement officers who came to bid him farewell.

Patty Hastings: 360-735-4513; http://twitter.com/col_cops or patty.hastings@columbian.com