Pe Ell Reserve Officers

Dean Rivers, left, and Nathan Howard, spent their first nights volunteering as Pe Ell reserve marshals working together in the same car in 2015.

The Pe Ell Town Council voted Tuesday against sending Marshal Dean Rivers to a state-mandated basic training academy, instead opting to find a new marshal. Until then, the town has no police presence and will rely on the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office to respond to calls. 

“The council and the marshal had some issues, and they decided that it was in the best interest of the town to go a different direction,” Mayor Lonnie Willey said. “I just hope it’s a smooth transition, because I want the residents of my town to have adequate police protection.”

Rivers, who’s worked in Pe Ell’s law enforcement since 2015, stepped up as marshal after Mike Hartnett’s retirement in 2019. He has been operating under a temporary variance, according to Willey. 

In a meeting with county commissioners Wednesday, Undersheriff Wes Rethwill said it’s possible that the county could contract out law enforcement, as they do with Vader, in order to maintain Pe Ell’s police coverage. Until then, Pe Ell will be billed by the sheriff’s office, according to Rethwill. Pe Ell town councilmembers were not immediately available for comment.

(3) comments

Fiat Trucker

Wait a minute. "...voted Tuesday against sending Marshal Dean Rivers to a state-mandated basic training academy,..."

Just how exactly do you serve in law enforcement without ever going to the Academy? In what world of responsible law enforcement is that ok? What's the rest of the story here?


For 18 months the Town has waited for a decision on a variance application submitted to the CJTC by Marshal Rivers. This was to be allowed to remain in his position without the requirement of attending the police academy. This request was made because he has experience in law enforcement and has attended a reserve officer academy. Of course there is always more to the story, but they, the council, were given a tough decision that would impact the Town for years to come and it was not made lightly, although the Chronicle would lead you to believe that!


Don't worry, Citizens of PeEll. Your marshal wasn't doing a thing to protect you, anyway. Crime will not magically go up. Police only show up after a crime had been committed, if they show up at all. Look after each other, you'll be better off.

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