The future of law enforcement in Tonasket is still uncertain after the town’s embattled Mayor disbands the police department.
The Omak Chronicle reports that the issue was discussed last night at a town hall meeting hosted by the town’s Public Safety Committee along with Okanogan County Commissioner Andy Hover and Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley.
Around 60 people attended the meeting at the Tonasket Elementary School. Some residents appeared to support the concept of the city contracting with the county, while others said they would rather re-build the city’s police department.
Last month the city’s Mayor, Dennis Brown, terminated Police Chief Darin Odegaard and Officer John Cruz. They were later re-hired and re-fired. Brown is also accused by another police officer of making racist comments.
Last week Officer Jose Perez claimed the mayor asked him to change his name from “Jose” to “Joseph” because it sounded too “stereotypical” and “too Hispanic.” Two council members cast votes of no confidence in the mayor. He stated he would not resign. The City Council is expected to resume talks on the matter during next Tuesday’s regular meeting.