City of Toledo terminates contract with police chief ‘without cause’ 


The City of Toledo has terminated Police Chief Duane Garvais Lawrence’s contract without cause, the city confirmed Wednesday. 

“I know there have been multiple discussions going on surrounding the Toledo Police Department,” Mayor Cherie Devore said in an email response to a Chronicle inquiry on Wednesday, July 10. “I want to let everyone know that we have parted ways with former police chief Garvais Lawrence.” 

Garvais Lawrence was issued a termination letter on July 2, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Chronicle. 

“On behalf of the City of Toledo, I would like to express our deepest gratitude for your dedicated service and hard work during your tenure as chief of police. Your commitment and numerous hours devoted to ensuring the safety and security of our community have been invaluable,” DeVore wrote in the letter. “After careful consideration, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you of the City's decision to terminate your employment as Chief of Police, effective immediately. This termination is without cause, in accordance with the terms outlined in your employment contract.” 

The letter advised Garvais Lawrence to turn in any city property in his possession by July 3. 

Toledo Police Officer Tarryn Carter, a U.S. Army veteran with experience in military police and reserve police officer work who joined the department in January, is the point of contact for the police department while the city navigates the hiring process, DeVore said. 

“Officer Carter has spoken with the surrounding police departments and they let him know that they will assist him in any way they can while we are in the hiring process,” DeVore wrote. “We will have coverage for this weekend’s Cheese Day celebration.” 

Garvais Lawrence began as chief of the Toledo Police Department in October 2022. When he started in the role, the Toledo Police Department had been inoperable since Aug. 1, 2022, following the departure of former police chief Sam Patrick and the Toledo City Council’s decision to deny a proposed contract with the Napavine Police Department.

Garvais Lawrence’s law enforcement career began after his service in the U.S. Marine Corps ended in 1992, when he saw an advertisement in a newspaper for a police officer position on the Cowlitz Indian Reservation.

During his six-year tenure as an officer for the Cowlitz Indian Reservation, he spent two years in the North Central Washington Task Force. From there, he applied for a position with the U.S. Department of the Interior and was hired as a special agent.

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Garvais Lawrence was detailed to guard half of then-President George W. Bush’s cabinet and to patrol Washington, D.C.

He later took a job as a detective for the Lakewood Police Department in Washington, then went on to become police chief for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe. He then moved to Idaho with his family and stayed out of law enforcement before returning to work for the Cowlitz Indian Reservation, becoming assistant chief of police.

When that position ended, he went back to Idaho with his family and remained out of law enforcement for just under two years.

During that hiatus, Garvais Lawrence launched the grassroots Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Bike-Run, where he invited bikers and runners to join him on a route from the Washington state Capitol in Olympia to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., to help uplift Tribal communities and raise awareness about crimes against Indigenous people.

While the City of Toledo announced its intention to hire Garvais Lawrence in early August 2022, he had to undergo some additional training and background checks and renew certifications before he could legally get back in uniform.