Police Chief Geoffrey Marti enters his third week heading the department and he is anxious about naming his replacement as commander this month.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to promote one of three sergeants here,” Marti explained.
Marti plans to name the new commander by May 19.
With a sergeant promoted to commander, it opens the door for a patrol officer to move up to sergeant, he said.
While some departments go outside to hire, Marti feels Port Orchard has talented plenty of officers.
“I believe I’ve got talented people here that deserve the opportunity,” he said.
With two female officers on the force, Marti said he can’t rule out the possibility of one of them being promoted up the chain-of-command in the future.
“Their talents and qualifications are quite high,” he added.
Marti, a Lincoln, Neb., native, took over as police chief April 24. He replaced Alan Townsend, who was selected to head Poulsbo’s police department in March.
According to Marti, his strengths as chief are accountability, transparency and community projects.
“Accountability to me means being receptive to input from citizens — whether its good or critical,” he said.
He said he would like to see the input documented and a resolution found.
“That system requires a by-in from your officers and most people don’t like to see written documentation,” Marti said. “In police work, officers are having contact with people at their worst moment.”
He said the department will look at every complaint.
As for transparency, Marti said there should be not secrets within the department.
“I want the people to know what we’re doing,” he said. “We have nothing to hide here because we’re doing the public’s work.”
Marti said he wants citizens to know when his department is targeting an area for traffic enforcement.
Marti said as for community projects — known as community-oriented policing projects — he expects officers to know what’s happening in the community.
He said officers should identify the problem through repeat complaints or calls.
“They identify the problem, then devise a plan to impact that problem and form partnership with anybody and everybody that can help,” he said. “Police officers can’t to it alone. We want to solve the problem.”
Marti said citizens can help his department by recording license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles.
“Livability of someone’s neighborhood is very important,” he added.
He said officers will be required to complete several community projects throughout the year.
“We want to achieve something, rather than take a report,” Marti said.
Marti wants to be accessible to citizens.
“If I’m available, I’m available to talk to someone,” he explained. “I pride myself in being able to go out into the public and address their concerns.”
While serving in a larger department for many years, Marti feels it’s not the size of the department, but the quality of the officers that make a great police department.
“The citizens have a great police department,” he said. “The reason is because there is a lot of talented officers here. The officers are working hard and their goal is to improve the quality of life here.”
The 54-year-old police veteran joined Port Orchard’s department five years ago. He and Townsend both worked together as Lincoln police officers.
Before coming to join Townsend in Port Orchard, Marti said he weighed things out before committing.
“I really done a lot of different things in the Lincoln department and I wanted to use this as an opportunity to use some of the tools and management skills, and actually make a difference,” Marti said. “The timing was right and I had some talents to offer. I really believed I could make this police department a better police department.”
Marti worked 12 years as a patrol officer before he was promoted to sergeant. At age 49, he retired after 27 years with the department.
Marti said the highlight of his career in Lincoln was working 20 years on the SWAT team, 10 as team leader.
“Anytime there was something critical or dangerous, we were involved,” he said.
While working full-time with the department, Marti earned his degree from Doane College in Lincoln.
Marti said most of his family are attorneys. His grandfather — Lloyd J. Marti — was a prominent attorney and served as mayor of Lincoln in 1943.
Marti resides in Port Orchard.