POULSBO — On Wednesday, the Poulsbo Police Department announced an ongoing investigation into the alleged lewd incident that occurred Tuesday at Raab Park. The announcement was made in front of community members at the park where the incident took place.
Police Chief Dan Schoonmaker began the meeting by saying they got a call Tuesday just before 1 p.m. about a man engaging in lewd activity near the park. Poulsbo Police Department responded by sending officers to the scene. The person who had reported the incident to Poulsbo Police Department had left the area by the time they’d arrived. Officers talked with the alleged perpetrator and spoke with two witnesses from the scene.
“Those two statements conflicted with what happened,” Schoonmaker said. “Our officers were provided two statements, both believable.”
After talking to the subject and other people at the park, officers let the man leave the location, stating there was no probable cause to make an arrest.
“We didn’t do nothing; we’re doing something,” Schoonmaker said emphatically. “We take these things very seriously.”
The police chief said the department can’t go into great detail about an ongoing investigation.
“I want you to have my assurance that we are looking into it and this is serious allegations in a park that belongs to everyone.”
Schoonmaker then shifted his focus to an individual’s description of the event that was posted to the North Kitsap Community Facebook page, dispelling any rumors of the incident.
“Not all the information was put out, and that promotes fear,” Schoonmaker said. “We want to reduce fear. You can call the police department anytime. This is your police department, not my police department.”
Officers took phone calls all day long, talking with members of the community who had concerns about the incident. Schoonmaker said he spoke again with the person who initially reported the incident, citing that she tells a “very compelling story,” but that shouldn’t exceed the rule of law.
Other calls were from people saying that it was insensitive to hold the meeting at Raab Park, considering what just happened there a day earlier.
“I totally get that perspective,” Schoonmaker said. “The reason we’re having it here is because this is your park. It doesn’t belong to people who come here and do bad things. It belongs to everybody here. One event, I hope, doesn’t discourage people from wanting to come here.”
The latter half of the meeting was devoted to questions and comments from the people who were in attendance. A few citizens raised concerns about how the department handled the incident, while others simply just wanted more clarifications on police procedures.
One individual asked if there was only the initial report, would the proceedings have been different, to which Schoonmaker agreed that would be the case. An officer said the subject didn’t appear high and stood firm that they wouldn’t let anyone go who appeared to be intoxicated.
—Tyler Shuey is a reporter with Kitsap News Group. Tyler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org