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New police cruisers mark changes to town marshal

Coupeville Marshal Rick Norrie shows off one of two new cruisers the marshal’s office purchased. - Megan Hansen photo
Coupeville Marshal Rick Norrie shows off one of two new cruisers the marshal’s office purchased.
— image credit: Megan Hansen photo

The new Coupeville marshal’s office is almost complete.

Marshal Rick Norrie drove into town Monday in one of two brand new Dodge Chargers that will wear decals with a fresh, new design designating the Marshal’s Office.

The new vehicles are just one way Norrie, the Island County Sheriff’s Office and Town of Coupeville are working to transition and improve service to citizens.

Norrie said previous patrol vehicles were older and the town dealt with regular maintenance issues.

“I’m excited for the town to have something new, nice and reliable,” Norrie said.

Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard said she is pleased with the new vehicles as well.

“They look great,” she said. “We were very due for new vehicles. They were sorely in need of an upgrade.”

The sheriff’s office took over police services in February and, since then, Norrie has gotten a lot of response from the public.

“I think one thing that has taken place, because we work so well with the sheriff’s office, is we’re able to renew the professionalism,” he said. “We’ve been pretty busy, carrying on with the level of service the town has provided.”

Norrie said he also feels with the transition, the town is getting better quality service. The marshal’s office has been very visible and available, especially at special events, he said.

“It’s worked out quite well,” he said. “I feel we’re more engaged, an active listener. We’re becoming part of the solution.”

Prior to officially contracting with the sheriff’s office, Conard said she did receive a few comments from citizens who felt it was a bad idea. But since the transition, she’s only heard positive feedback.

“I’m real pleased with how it’s going,” Conard said. “Rick Norrie has an interest and appreciation of the community, and it shows. We’ve had many people in the community comment on the increased visibility of the marshal, and that’s what we wanted.”

One thing Norrie said he’s working on is consistency.

A specific example of this is maintaining a process when dealing with traffic infractions.

Deputies have established a system in documenting not just citations, but warnings.

“We try to stay consistent in what we do,” Norrie said. “When you stop someone for a minor traffic infraction, you know what you’re going to do before you even make contact.”

By documenting warnings, deputies are able to track repeat offenders.

“For the most part, we’ve gotten nothing but respect,” Norrie said.

Next week, the town will be getting a new trailer reader board, which was purchased through a multi-jurisdictional grant with Coupeville, Oak Harbor, Langley and the sheriff’s office.

The grant paid for half of the purchase, while the Island County Road Department paid for the other half. The trailer will be kept at the marshal’s office and will be shared among the jurisdiction.

A nice feature of the trailer, Norrie said, is that it collects traffic data.

The contract with the sheriff’s office means Norrie is able to seek help when needed.

“It’s nice I have other resources from the sheriff’s office,” he said.

For example, he said he’s working on a larger case that requires additional investigation outside the jurisdiction. Norrie said he was able to utilize sheriff’s office personnel so the investigation continued without leaving the town.

While the marshal’s office staffs Norrie and one other deputy, if both are not working, the deputies from the sheriff’s north precinct cover the town.

Another piece to the marshal’s office puzzle will be coming next week.

Norrie temporarily had deputy Jim Johnson working with him, but a new deputy, Bo Miller, will be starting July 1.

Miller is a retired Navy officer and has served as a reserve with the sheriff’s office since the early 1990s.

“He’s very easygoing, very knowledgeable,” Norrie said. “He does a good job.”

 

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