Come Jan. 1, Poulsbo has a new deputy police chief

Matt Brown served in Walla Walla County, Lakewood, and Pierce County departments

POULSBO — Come Jan. 1, Poulsbo will have a new deputy police chief.

Matt Brown was sworn in at the Dec. 13 Poulsbo City Council meeting. He will succeed Andy Pate, who is retiring after nearly 26 years with the department.

Brown has more than 17 years of law enforcement experience. He was most recently the chief criminal deputy with the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Department. Earlier, he served with the Lakewood Police Department and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

“[Deputy Chief] Brown was a good fit for Poulsbo for a few reasons,” Poulsbo Police Chief Dan Schoonmaker wrote in an email.

“First, he studied up on the City of Poulsbo and shares the vision we are developing for our department and how we serve this community. Second, his energy and passion for this job clearly stood out from the other candidates. Finally, and most importantly, he is dedicated to make those around him great. He is focused on the success of others and the further development of our employees.”

Brown said the move to Poulsbo is more of a return home, despite the fact that he spent his childhood in Walla Walla County.

“I actually spent most of my career on the west side of the mountains, so this is more moving back home than anything else,” Brown said in a Dec. 12 interview with Kitsap News Group.

Brown was reluctant to talk about what marks he was hoping to make in his new hometown.

“I’ve only been here a day, so I think saying, ‘Hey, I’m going to accomplish this,’ is probably a little early,” he said. “I know from the conversations I’ve had with a number of the officers and with the chief, some of the administrative staff and the mayor, it sounds like a really good, strong agency.”

He added, “Give it a couple months and we’ll see where we can take it. It’s headed in the right direction for sure.”

Brown said it was a visit to Poulsbo, made in order to “feel out” the area, that sealed the deal for him to make the move.

“It was great wandering around down on the waterfront, going and grabbing an ice cream in the sun. My wife and I looked at each other and said, ‘Yeah, this will be the place,’” Brown said. “This was just the right opportunity, the right time.”

Brown said he was looking forward to getting to know the people of Poulsbo and hearing what the community would like to see in local policing. That said, the new deputy chief said he doesn’t see much to fix at the moment.

“It’s not an agency that you look at and you say, ‘Oh, we need to fix things.’ It sounds like it’s a really good organization and it’s got some really good people.”

When asked what sort of officer he is, Brown said he always keeps in mind the fact that he is first and foremost a public servant.

“It sounds very cliche that we serve the public and that we’re in the service of the public, but that’s really, truly the only way to get it done,” he said.

On the night of Brown’s swearing-in, Walla Walla County Sheriff John Turner made the trip up to see Brown off.

“I guess my complaint would be that you have the good fortune of swearing in Matt Brown tonight as your new deputy chief,” Turner said addressing those in attendance.

“My compliments to [the] chief on a nice pick, our loss is definitely your gain. For the last year and a half I’ve had the pleasure of having Matt be my partner and teammate. I think the City of Poulsbo is going to be in very good hands with the chief and the deputy chief.”

— Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at