POPD’s new chief not making any big changes

Geoffrey MartiPort Orchard’s new police chief, former Cmdr. Geoffrey Marti, says not to expect big changes now that he has taken over from Chief Al Townsend.

Marti’s promotion was confirmed with little fanfare at Tuesday’s city council meeting. Townsend was sworn in as Poulsbo’s police chief last week.

Marti, with five years as second in command of the POPD, said his philosophy is aligned with Townsend, and that’s no surprise. The two have known each other for 25 years and worked together for 15 of them, 10 in the Lincoln, Neb. PD.

Marti expects a smooth transition. He will promote from within to replace his position, he said.

Marti is big on “transparency” and accountability to the public.

“I want people to know what their police department is doing,” he said. “My philosophy is we don’t have anything to hide from the public.”

He has instituted a system of dealing with complaints that creates hard copy documentation of each complaint, how it was handled and the resolution. The front line supervisor involved is responsible for getting back to the person who made the complaint.

“This system finds areas where we maybe did not perform up to standard. It also shows where we exceeded expectations,” Marti said.

Marti said the biggest issue for POPD right now is covering a larger geographic area — due to annexations — with a budget that remains tight. The top two crimes in the city at this time are retail theft, especially from big box stores, and theft from automobiles.

Marti wants the force to be proactive in solving recurrent problems, rather than reactive. That approach has been working well, he said. That’s also the thinking of new Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan, who has targeted “frequent fliers.”

With Marti’s promotion, all of Kitsap’s cities now have new police chiefs. Steve Strachan, former King County sheriff, was appointed Bremerton’s chief in February. Matthew Hamner of Indiana was hired as Bainbridge Police chief last week.

Reach the Port Orchard Police Department at (360) 876-1700

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