New deputy marshal named for Coupeville

After nearly six months of searching, Coupeville has found a new deputy marshal.

Oak Harbor resident Robert Mirabal was sworn in as deputy marshal during the Coupeville Town Council’s Tuesday evening.

Mirabal, who retired from the Navy in late 2004, has 20 years of search and rescue experience. When he was last stationed on Whidbey Island from 1990 to 1993, he was credited with saving the lives of 30 people.

Even though he was most recently stationed in Maryland, he and his wife knew they would return to the area and kept ownership of their home in Oak Harbor.

When he returned, he became a paid on-call firefighter for the Oak Harbor Fire Department and volunteered for North Whidbey Fire and Rescue.

He said he was he looking for something different when he decided to become a police officer.

“It’s kind of a change of pace,” Mirabal said. He applied for the Oak Harbor Fire Department in addition to the Coupeville Marshal’s Office.

Mirabal replaces deputy Billy Ray Hibbs who died while jogging last February. Hibbs, who had been a marshal since 1997, was known for his positive rapport with the youth in the area.

Mirabal was sworn in during a brief ceremony witnessed by the Town Council and by family and friends. His two sons, Tristan and Dustin, pinned the badge on his uniform after he was sworn in.

Mirabal won’t begin duty on the streets of Coupeville until early 2006. In the interim he will go through extensive training.

He is preently training with an officer and in late August he will head to the state police academy for five-and-half months.

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