POULSBO – Poulsbo Police Chief Dan Schoonmaker said Friday, June 15, that Stacey Smaaladen, the officer who appeared on surveillance camera footage stealing prescription medications from a drop box in the police department lobby, has submitted her retirement.
The officer’s retirement comes one day after she petitioned to have her case turned over to Kitsap County Drug Court.
Schoonmaker said Smaaladen submitted her retirement last week, but was given seven days to reconsider.
“Stacey submitted her retirement a week ago, she had a week to consider which ended last night at five o’clock,” Schoonmaker said. “She did not reconsider and submitted her retirement, that retirement is effective as of this morning.”
The chief noted that Smaaladen’s retirement was not the result of any pressure from the department to resign.
“Throughout this whole process, Stacey’s been nothing but cooperative with the department. She’s a tenured employee here, we wanted to make sure that we respected her rights like we do the rights of all of our employees here,” Schoonmaker said. “We’re going to take care of our people in the manner that they deserve.”
The chief said the department had been conducting an internal investigation in order to determine what disciplinary action to take against Smaaladen, however with her retirement, that investigation has ceased.
“It seems like it takes forever, but I can assure you that we were moving through it steadily and had she not submitted her retirement, we would still be towards the tail end of that process,” the chief said of the internal investigation.
Schoonmaker said he paid special attention to Smaaladen’s achievements as an officer during the internal investigation.
“When I’m looking at the body of work of a very respected, 23-year veteran employee who has made a huge impact on this city, most of which through her relationships and her ability to deal with people so effectively, I will tell you I made every consideration possible.”
When asked whether he thought Smaaladen’s recent experiences could benefit her ability to relate to individuals she contacted through her capacity as a crisis intervention officer, Schoonmaker looked to the officer’s track record of helping people in need.
“Based on what I perceive to be Stacey’s desire to help people — it was the one aspect of this job that she enjoyed the most — her ability to go out and do that has not changed and I would say it’s even enhanced,” the chief said. “She has an unfortunate experience that she is getting through, but nonetheless, I think she can apply it to help people.”
Schoonmaker explained that while Smaaladen did not say whether or not she intended to return to law enforcement in the future, he hoped that she would continue to help those in need.
“Stacey, with her experience in law enforcement and then this other experience which she appears to be recovering from, has … an enhanced ability to go out and help people, the thing she loves to do most,” Schoonmaker said. “I hope that is something that she continues to pursue. There’s no doubt that she could provide a lot of support and a lot of perspective to a lot of people, both the law enforcement community and people who are going through crisis.”
The chief also expressed his regret that Smaaladen’s tenure with the Poulsbo Police Department ended in such a manner.
“23 years in this job is a long time. I wish that it did not end this way, both for the department and for her. We certainly wish her all the best in the future.”
—Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter with Kitsap News Group. Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.