Town meets new police chief

Town meets new police chief

Town meets new police chief

On Monday, April 22, an event to introduce Eatonville's new Chief of Police Jason Laliberte was held at the Eatonville Visitors center. The event primarily brought out city officials, such as the town manager, Abby Gribi, and the Eatonville School District Superintendent, Krestin Bahr. Laliberte started on April 8.

Laliberte said the last two weeks have been spent getting acquainted with department and the town. 

"That was the biggest thing, just settling in, learning the daily activity, getting to know my officers a little bit," he said. "I had a team meeting, set down my expectations and listened [to the officers] too. (I) wanted to hear what's going well, what's not going well, what do you want to see, you know, what changes do you want to see, how can I help." 

Eatonville's prior police chief, Brian Witt, resigned abruptly after Mayor Mike Schaub's request he be moved within the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. The reason for this decision was cited as being a desire to change the direction of leadership. Witt's departure was announced at the Feb. 25  regular town council meeting. The Pierce County Sheriff filled the position with an interim chief, Deputy Frank Clark. Clark served until a selection for a permanent candidate was made. 

Originally from the New England area, Laliberte's law enforcement career began in the U.S. Army as a correction specialist at Ft. Lewis. He was later hired by Pierce County and began working on patrol in South Hill in 1998. Five years later, he worked on a community support team and then in a gang unit. He was promoted to detective in 2010 and worked on a car theft task force, metal theft task force and on homicide cases. In 2016, he was promoted to detective sergeant.

Laliberte says he plans on working with the Town of Eatonville and its residents to make effective policing efforts. 

"We can't do the job anymore without the help of the public and interaction and transparency and those things," Laliberte said. "When I started in 1998, it wasn't like that. Police, in general, we were kind of like ‘we've got this, we'll run the show, we don't need your input.' … We found out pretty quickly that doesn't work. You know, we need community policing."  

The Eatonville Police Department is beginning community outreach by organizing social media accounts, such as an Instagram and Facebook page, with the Mayor's approval.

When asked if he was happy to be working in Eatonville, Laliberte said he is "absolutely happy to be here."  


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