City getting new police commander

After a national search for a new commander, Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend hired Long Island native Stephen “Tim” Palmer to fill the spot left vacant by Mark Duncan.

Describing Palmer as “an excellent addition to our department,” Townsend said his new commander comes to the position with plenty of professional experience and education in his background.

“He brings with him a bachelor’s and master’s degree in criminal justice from Long Island University,” Townsend said, adding that before Palmer moved to start his job here in September, he was teaching classes such as police psychology and police and community relations at the NY Institute of Technology.

Palmer said he visited the area numerous times before moving here since he has family members living in Seattle, and he was definitely attracted to the water and variety of outdoor activities available here.

“People are much friendlier here, too,” he added, explaining that he still feels that way despite the fact that during his first week on the job he encountered a shooting — a decidedly rare event for the city.

As for the atmosphere at his new workplace, he described that as different as “night and day” from his job in New York.

He left Long Island as a sergeant with the Riverhead Police Department after serving 22 years in that department. Over the years he held positions in management, patrol supervisor, communications supervisor, street crime unit supervisor, and training coordinator.

He is also a certified Glock handgun armorer, and both a Taser and CPR instructor.

Prior to joining the Riverhead police department, he served as a U.S. Park Ranger in Washington D.C., and also worked at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Palmer, 50, is married with three children, and said his wife and their kids will be moving to the area once the school year is completed.

The job of commander was created for the POPD last year to take over some administrative tasks from Chief Townsend.

In addition to being the first point of contact for the community and other department employees, the commander’s role is also to create monthly and annual reports, maintain the department’s budget, inspect the units and order supplies.

“Port Orchard has been growing for some time,” former commander Duncan said after being promoting to the position last year. “But during that time (our department) has not made any administrative changes. (Creating this position) is a reflection of our need to do that, which we’ve been working toward for a long time.”

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