ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Bob Richey, a former Ellensburg police chief, announced Friday he will run to become Kittitas County’s first elected coroner.

Richey, who started his law enforcement career as an Okanogan County sheriff’s deputy in 1972, retired from the chief’s job in 2006. Now 62, he started with the Ellensburg department in 1977 and became chief in 2001.

“I believe my law enforcement experience and training, as well as my organizational and management skills, make me an ideal candidate for this newly elected position,” Richey said in a statement announcing his campaign.

Since 2010, he has been the transportation manager for HopeSource, an Ellensburg-based nonprofit agency.

The Kittitas County prosecuting attorney serves as the county’s coroner under the current system.

State law requires an elected coroner once the county’s population reaches 40,000. The Daily Record of Ellensburg reported that the county passed that mark in 2010.

Richey is the first to announce his candidacy.

The official filing period is in May.