PORT ANGELES — The Lower Elwha tribal police chief is throwing his support to sheriff’s candidate Soeren Poulsen, saying Sheriff Joe Hawe has frequently snubbed his department and “burned far too many bridges to be effective.”

Hawe and Poulsen are facing each other in the Nov. 5 general election.

In his endorsement of Poulsen, Chief Mike Lasnier on Thursday said Hawe has excluded Lower Elwha police from county-wide programs, has passed by opportunities to combine resources and training with other agencies in the county and is inaccessible.

“He doesn’t have the time or the inclination to meet with tribal police chiefs on tribal issues,” Lasnier said.

Hawe was attending a meeting in Silverdale on Thursday and directed a reporter’s questions to Undersheriff Joe Martin.

Lasnier said Hawe ended an effective, 20-year cross-deputization program between the sheriff’s department and tribal police agencies in the county in 1997, calling the tribes a liability.

The program allowed tribal officers to respond to calls in the county’s jurisdiction and vice-versa.

Martin, responding to Lasnier’s comments Thursday, said Hawe ended the program after the county was sued by a non-tribal member over the actions of a Makah tribal police officer.

The tribe chose not to participate in defending the lawsuit, Martin said.

“As a result of that, all commissions were pulled on all reservations,” he said.


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