New Poulsbo police chief is on the job

POULSBO—It’s Dec. 5 and Dan Schoonmaker, Poulsbo new chief of police is on the job. He’s so new his voice mail still has a message from his predecessor, interim public safety director Shawn Delaney. Chief Schoonmaker’s salary will be $133,849.

Delaney, as you may recall, came out of retirement to temporarily fill the position vacated by Alan Townsend, who resigned in March following revelations of his relationship with a female officer and his department’s handling of a suspected DUI involving a Kitsap County sheriff’s sergeant.

Before accepting the Poulsbo position, Schoonmaker (pronounced “Skoon-maker”) served for 16 years with the Westminster Police Department in California.

Interviewed following his appointment on Oct. 12, Schoonmaker said he didn’t expect to have any trouble adjusting to the move from sunny Southern California to the rainy Northwest, as he spent part of his childhood in Bellevue.

“I’ve always wanted to come back,” he said. “It feels like coming home.”

Given the Poulsbo Police Department’s past personnel issues and the number of officers nearing retirement, Schoonmaker’s experience as commander of the Westminster Police Department Professional Standards Unit (personnel, training, internal affairs, recruitment) should be valuable.

“I’m aware they’ve had issues,” Schoonaker said. “I’m a great advocate of training.” Now that he is on the job, he said he plans to get to know the employees and the community. “Then I’ll assess where things are at.”

When asked about Poulsbo’s reported rise in opioid use, he said his three years of experience as a narcotics detective and later dealing with narcotics and trafficking in Special Investigations should serve the public well. “From what I have beent old, it’s not a whole lot different there than it is here in Orange County,” he said.

Schoonmaker served as commander of patrol operations, S.W.A.T. commander, special investigations unit supervisor, patrol supervisor, D.A.R.E. officer and as a K-9 handler.

In an earlier interview, he said he plans to start tracking when officers find non-lethal solutions to defuse situations where deadly force might otherwise have been justified — something the Poulsbo Police Department hasn’t done in the past. “Without question, officers making good decisions should be noted, if not celebrated,” he said.

Schoonmaker has a master of science in criminal justice from American Military University, and a bachelor of science in occupational studies and emergency management from California State University, Long Beach. More recently, he completed a certificate in executive leadership from Cornell University, and attended the California Peace Officers Standards andTraining Command College.

Schoonmaker and his wife of 26 years, Debbie, and their daughter plan to move to the Poulsbo area. Schoonmaker’s two adult sons will remain in Southern California.