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.