New Coupeville marshal to live in Duvall
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
January 13, 2012 · Updated 11:00 AM
For the first time in recent memory, the head of Coupeville’s police force will be living off Whidbey Island.
Mayor Nancy Conard swore in Lance Davenport during Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.
Davenport, who has nearly 20 years in law enforcement, lives in Duvall and was previously working for the Mill Creek Police Department. He takes over for David Penrod, who retired at the end of 2011. Both Penrod and his predecessor, Lenny Marlborough, lived on Central Whidbey.
Davenport plans to keep his family in the Snohomish County area because he doesn’t want to pull his children out of their Catholic school, especially in the middle of the school year. Davenport realized that some people in the community who may have an issue with the head of the marshal’s office living so far away, but he said he’s up to the challenge of talking and working with residents.
“That’s going to be a constant conversation,” Davenport said.
The town has been working for months to find a replacement for Penrod. Davenport’s name was on a list of finalists that included deputy marshal Chris Peabody, deputy marshal Hodges Gowdy, Coupeville resident Robert Davenport and Dayton resident Bill Peters.
Conard said that Lance Davenport was the unanimous choice of the organization and volunteers who interviewed the candidates.
“He’s interested in a smaller community and it’s a benefit to find someone with his experience who would come into our community,” Conard said.
Davenport spent 16 years as a patrol officer for the Mercer Island Police Department and, most recently, served as operations commander for the Mill Creek Police Department for three years.
He has also served as DARE officer and developed outreach programs to senior citizens.
He said he wanted to work for a small police department because it gives him a chance to know the people in town.
“They want an officer who will get of the car and say ‘hi’ to the people,” Davenport said.
Davenport resigned from his operations commander position with the Mill Creek Police Department in May 2011. He didn’t go into many details about his resignation citing an agreement with the city. He admitted that he “stepped on toes” when he made changes in how the department operated.
That experience didn’t appear to sully his reputation. Conard said she talked with Mill Creek’s city manager and chief of police about Davenport and nothing raised any red flags.
Bob Crannell, chief of police for the Mill Creek Police Department, submitted a glowing recommendation that Conard read during the meeting.
“Marshall Davenport will exhibit and demonstrate the talent and inspiration to effectively and efficiently lead your department, and to additionally augment and strengthen the professional reputation of your department regionally. The town of Coupeville is fortunate to have him,” the letter stated.
Davenport’s wife Mari, and children, Thomas and Andrew, were on hand during Tuesday’s Council meeting. Thomas pinned his father’s badge on his chest after being sworn in.
Davenport started serving as Town Marshal Jan. 5 and he is busy learning about the town and the personnel in his four-member department. He noted that all of the officers in the department are very well respected by the residents and he doesn’t foresee making dramatic changes in the next six months.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at email@example.com or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.