Tenino Hires Acting Police Chief

Plans put in place by Chief Robert Swain ensures Continuity of Operations

Submitted by City of Tenino

When regularly assigned Chief Robert Swain was developing the Continuity of Operations Plan for the Tenino Police Department, little did he know the first use of that plan would be triggered by his own accident.

Chief Swain experienced a medical emergency on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, that caused him to lose consciousness while behind the wheel of his police cruiser and soon found himself at Saint Peter’s Hospital in Olympia, where he is undergoing tests to determine the cause of his blackout. Fortunately, his injuries are not serious.

The city is in great need of an active Police Chief especially due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. Fortunately, one of Bob’s many accomplishments since taking over as Chief of the Tenino Police Department in July of 2018 was the completion of a new Tenino Police Department Policy Manual, including provisions that cover the loss of critical personnel.

“One of the things Bob did,” says Mayor Wayne Fournier, “was to enroll former Tumwater Police Chief John Stines in our volunteer program helping with the Police Department’s Administration and Training Programs. Chief Stines was instrumental in assisting Chief Swain in developing policies, including those that address critical personnel shortages.”

Clerk/Treasurer John Millard observed “This is a once-in-a-lifetime situation where application of an existing policy overlaps with emergency procedures that allow us to bring a retired Washington Police Chief on board within 24 hours of the kind of event that Chief Swain foresaw.”  According to Mayor Fournier, “Because Chief Stines retired under the State’s LEOFF2 program, we normally couldn’t avail ourselves of his services full time.”  However, Governor Inslee’s recent Proclamation 20-39 waives the restrictions against hiring retired Public Employees for the specific purpose of providing “employees with critical skills necessary to assist with and supplement the COVID-19 emergency response.”

When asked if he would be willing to “fill in”, Chief Stines replied “with a bit of trepidation, I’d be happy to in order that Tenino Police Department continue its excellent service without interruption.”  When asked why the trepidation, Chief Stines replied “well, I’m enjoying being retied, also I don’t want anyone thinking I’d be trying to keep this position for any length of time; Chief Swain has been doing an excellent job.”

Chief Stines will work for the City in a Provisional status as “Acting Chief of Police”as the City navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and works with Chief Swain and his family, or until the special authority conferred by Proclamation 20-39 expires, whichever occurs first. He starts work tomorrow, Friday, April 10, 2020

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