Olson picked as new Port Townsend police chief

Leader news staff
Posted 3/4/21

Thomas Olson will be Port Townsend’s new chief of police, the city announced Thursday.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Olson picked as new Port Townsend police chief


Thomas Olson will be Port Townsend’s new chief of police, the city announced Thursday.

Olson, who currently serves as deputy chief of the University of Washington Police Department, has accepted a conditional offer from the city pending a background check, polygraph test, and medical and psychological examinations.

"I'm thrilled to announce that after our extensive search for the highest quality, experienced and deeply collaborative police chief, we've been successful in finding Mr. Olson," City Manager John Mauro said in Thursday's statement.

"Thomas has an impeccable track record in law enforcement and a deep desire to be in Port Townsend. Right from the start of a long interview process, he distanced himself from a field of over 30 excellent candidates with his absolutely thorough research into Port Townsend," the city manager continued.

"It's clear he's a fantastic fit for our community. Thomas is a leader of integrity, diplomacy, self-awareness and a huge commitment to service," Mauro added.

Of his appointment, Olson said he was "honored and blessed to be the next chief of police for the city of Port Townsend."

"Over the past few months I had the opportunity to meet many members of the port Townsend community," Olson said.

"Everyone that I met was easy to talk to and made me feel like I was already a member of the community," he said. "The more people that I talked to, the more I knew this was where I wanted to live, work and raise my children."

Olson will be replacing Troy Surber, who has served as interim chief for more than a year. Surber will be retiring shortly after the new chief assumes command.

"I love this community and it's been a real privilege and honor to serve as chief, particularly during this very difficult last year," Surber said of his forthcoming departure. "I'm very excited to welcome Thomas Olson. We've done well to attract this level of talent and I'm very confident to say to the community that I'm handing over the [reins] to the right person."

Olson brings with him roughly 32 years of law enforcement experience with both the University of Washington Police Department and Washington State Patrol.

Olson also served with the Air Force, Air Force Reserves and Washington Air National Guard. Olson retired at the rank of senior master sergeant. 

He graduated from the FBI National Academy in 2019 where he received training in diversity-centered leadership, emergency response and conflict management.