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.

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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.



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  • MargeS

    Welcome to Port Townsend. According to 2018 University of WA figures your salary was $136,900. Port Townsend pays between $107, 669 to $137, 201. Did they raise that or are you taking a pay cut or get the high end?

    Just curious.

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 Report this

  • Shoreline59

    White male. I guess he checked all the boxes.

    Friday, March 5, 2021 Report this

  • HarveyW

    Welcome to Port Townsend Officer Olson.

    I did not get a visit from you, John Mauro also never showed up early on, or ever. He said in this paper he was going to. I don't think he could carry a face to face back and forth conversation regarding the 7 year long parking tolerance policy, shelving of expensive studies, and no plan at all for present and future regarding parking. You took the job to enforce all laws and codes working under him. A visit is not necessary or needed. Actions are all that matter.

    Mauro says this of you in this article "he distanced himself from a field of over 30 excellent candidates with his absolutely thorough research into Port Townsend,"

    Sandoval the Appointed Mayor that you obviously have met, said exactly that about Mauro. Exactly. It is called a sound bite. So you know all about parking issues and tolerance policies that benefit the Appointed Mayor.

    Mauro is a year into continuing parking anarchy with no plan, and playing a part in reducing an already limited resource. You now sign on as "a leader of integrity, diplomacy, self-awareness and a huge commitment to service," You would have to pressure Mauro your boss and Sandoval to truly do that.

    Parking drags your department into the slimy goo Mauro waded knowingly into and maintains. With stale sound bites and little real meaning.

    Much thanks and respect to your officers, I have seen many in many circumstances preform admirably, as true members of this community. They deserve straightforward leadership and the respect of all from the Appointed Mayor Sandoval to her special friend Mauro. They are not stupid and know where the buck stops and is passed around from and to.

    Perhaps you can put a detective on the missing Mauro review cold case. No? You will do fine here. There are mostly folks like Marge who don't question too much. She doesn't understand you can't answer her here or you would set a dangerous precedent. Mauro or Sandoval might be expected to respond honestly to parking anarchy questions.

    You will need to move into a cozy and protected place called denial, protected by special interests. I would assume your education included slippery slopes and corrupted government. I know Troy Stuber can fill you in on parking. A comment from a police volunteer spoke for him and laid parking problems on the No Term Limit City Council. Also your bosses. Police enforce laws, they don't write them. Police ignore laws, in Port Townsend.

    Much respect for your military service. I wonder what you and so many others fought or stood for. Special interests and ignoring the law? Slippery slopes.

    Friday, March 5, 2021 Report this

  • BoatFixx

    Get to know your community...https://www.deseret.com/indepth/2021/3/2/22309605/the-silenced-majority-bari-weiss-new-york-times-cancel-culture-free-speech-democrat-republican

    Saturday, March 6, 2021 Report this

  • HarveyW

    Here is some history from a couple of years ago. The comments reveal much about those you will serve. Status quo. The "new" city manager changed nothing. The self entitled disrespect spoken of a couple of years ago continues. You Thomas Olson are the newest component. Clean hands get dirty quickly here.


    Saturday, March 6, 2021 Report this