Sultan police chief resigns

Sultan Police Chief Fred Walser on Friday submitted his resignation and plans to leave the job on Aug. 17.

Walser, 66, a leader in the campaign to improve safety on treacherous U.S. 2, has served as Sultan’s chief for the past 11 1/2 years.

“Everyone realizes a point in their life when they ought to move on or retire out or do something different,” Walser said.

The announcement came the day after the Sultan City Council voted to study a deal with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office to provide full-time police service. The move would disband the Sultan police force.

The chief said his resignation has nothing to do with the decision.

Walser, chairman of the U.S. 2 Safety Coalition, said he plans to continue in that capacity and keep fighting for improvements to the highway.

“U.S. 2 is a real priority with me, and I’m going to stay active,” he said.

Walser said he has checked into other options for his next stage of life as well, but wouldn’t say what.

“I’m not the kind of guy who can sit around and watch grass grow or the world turn,” he said.

Before coming to Sultan, he served for 281/2 years in the Washington State Patrol, rising to the rank of lieutenant before leaving.

Walser wouldn’t comment on the City Council’s 5-2 vote Thursday to study contracting with Snohomish County for its police services.

The city also will study contracting with the county for part-time, on-call service when needed, which would keep the Sultan department intact.

The department exceeded its $1 million-plus budget by $185,000 last year and has spent beyond its budget by more than $100,000 every year since 2003, according to City Councilwoman Kristina Blair.

“That indicates to me a budget problem,” said Blair, who voted in the majority Thursday. “Ultimately, I think we owe it to our taxpayers” to take a detailed look at the issue, she said.

At the council’s request, the city last month received a proposal from the sheriff’s office for providing full-time service, officials said.

The county’s proposal for providing service in 2008 totaled $1.38 million, $122,000 more than the city’s anticipated budget of $1.26 million.

Mayor Ben Tolson opposes any move that would disband the department.

“We can provide a higher level of service for less money,” he said.

City Councilman Jim Flowers, who voted in the minority, said, “the issue for me always has been about local control.”

Residents at meetings have come down strongly on the side of keeping the force, officials said. Blair, however, said there’s a “silent majority” of residents who want more information.

Walser said he’s been hugely appreciative of the support he and his department have received from residents of the community.

“I really love the Sky Valley,” said Walser, who lives in Monroe with his wife, Donnetta, who is the mayor of that city.

“The people out here are just sterling. They’re just really nice folks,” he said.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speaks to the crowd during an opening ceremony at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County executive pitches $1.66B budget

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced his proposed budget Tuesday afternoon. Public comment is slated to begin Oct. 10.

Jamel Alexander, center, listens as a Snohomish County jury records their verdict of guilty, in the murder of Shawna Brune, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  Alexander was convicted in the first degree murder of Brune. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Appeals court orders new trial in Everett woman’s stomping death

Appellate judges ruled that additional evidence should have been admitted in Jamel Alexander’s trial for the murder of Shawna Brune.

Kristy Carrington, CEO of Providence Swedish of North Puget Sound, speaks during a Healthcare Summit at Everett Community College on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Providence, Optum and Premera discuss challenges at Everett summit

Five panelists spoke on labor shortages, high costs and health care barriers Wednesday at Everett Community College.

Most Read