Pe Ell hires Brandon Svenson as new town marshal 

Winlock mayor says he will step down as chair of the Lewis County Republican Party 


Pe Ell has hired Brandon Svenson to be the town’s new marshal, officials confirmed Thursday. 

“I am deeply humbled and grateful for the chance to serve this wonderful community,” Svenson said in a news release. “Building relationships and fostering trust are at the core of my approach to law enforcement. I believe that being humble, capable and trustworthy are essential qualities for serving the community's needs effectively.” 

Svenson currently serves as the mayor of Winlock and as the chair of the Lewis County Republican Party, though Svenson said April will be his last month as chairman “due to the nature of this new position.”

In Washington state, a marshal serves as the head of the police department for a town and is subject to the direction of the mayor. The marshal is responsible for patrolling, investigating incidents and completing all of the associated paperwork. 

“It’s a full-time position,” Pe Ell Mayor Lonnie Willey said. 

The starting salary for the marshal position is $60,000 per year, the Town of Pe Ell confirmed Friday. 

Pe Ell’s last town marshal, Dean Rivers, stepped down in September 2020 after the Pe Ell Town Council voted against sending him to state-mandated basic training academy. The town’s previous marshal, Mike Hartnett, retired in April 2019, according to previous Chronicle reporting. 

Pe Ell has been seeking a new town marshal since Rivers stepped down, with the most-recent job posting going up several months ago. 

While Willey initially told The Chronicle that Svenson was the only applicant to the position, he later clarified that there were three applicants, but "after initial review, Svenson was the only one we decided to go forward with." 

“I am looking forward to working with Mayor Lonnie Willey, the town council, business owners, and citizens to protect and serve the community of Pe Ell," Svenson said. "It is my sincere desire that residents feel comfortable reaching out to me for assistance whenever needed." 

Svenson was previously hired as a reserve officer in Toledo and completed the Morton Reserve Academy training program, but did not start his service before the department dissolved in July 2022, according to previous Chronicle reporting. Svenson served as a reserve officer in Morton until from August to December 2022 before leaving the position “for personal reasons,” according to previous Chronicle reporting. 

Willey confirmed Wednesday that Svenson will undergo state-mandated basic training at the police academy, which, once completed, will allow him to serve as a full-time peace officer. 

“Small-town policing is about being a positive addition to the community, fostering good relationships, and helping people solve problems to maintain law and order, not just focusing on statistics," Svenson stated. “I am committed to upholding these values and ensuring that Pe Ell is a safe and thriving community for all.” 

Pe Ell law enforcement was for a while provided through a contract with the Morton Police Department.