POULSBO — Poulsbo’s new police chief is Dan Schoonmaker, the city human resources department reported Oct. 12. He willstart on Dec. 5. His salary will be $133,849.
A law enforcement officer for 16 years, Schoonmaker (pronounced “Skoon-maker”) has spent his entire law enforcementcareer with the Westminster, California, police department, where he has served as deputy chief since January 2015.
Asked how he would adapt from sunny Southern California to the rainy Northwest, he said he spent part of his childhood inBellevue.
“I’ve always wanted to come back,” he said. “It feels like coming home.”
Schoonmaker succeeds Alan Townsend, who resigned in March over revelations of his relationship with a female officer andhis department’s handling of a suspected DUI involving a Kitsap County sheriff’s sergeant. Former deputy chief ShawnDelaney came out of retirement to serve in the interim as public safety director.
The Poulsbo Police Department has 21 employees: the chief, deputy chief, 11 officers, three sergeants, two detectives, andthree clerks.
Given the Poulsbo Police Department’s past personnel issues and the number of officers nearing retirement, Schoonmaker’sexperience as commander of his department’s 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.” Once he gets into the position, he saidplans 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 andlater dealing with narcotics and trafficking in special investigations should serve the public well. “From what I have beentold, it’s not a whole lot different there than it is here in Orange County,” he said.
His work history suggests he is well-versed in all aspects of law enforcement. He’s served as commander of patroloperations, S.W.A.T. commander, special investigations unit supervisor, patrol supervisor, D.A.R.E. officer and K-9 handler.
One of the things he said he plans to do is start tracking when officers find non-lethal solutions to defuse situations wheredeadly 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 inoccupational studies and emergency management from California State University, Long Beach. More recently, he completeda 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 soon. Schoonmaker’s two adult sons will remain in Southern California.