A familiar face from Island County law enforcement is taking over the reins at the South Whidbey precinct.
Lt. Mike Hawley, the former sheriff and longtime South Whidbey resident, is stepping into the precinct commander role after Lt. Evan Tingstad announced his retirement in late November.
“Lt. Tingstad retired, so there’s going to be some transitioning of our supervisory staff,” Detective Ed Wallace said.
Tingstad acted as commander for more than 15 years. He is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.
Hawley will assume the role at the start of the new year.
“It feels like I’m back home,” Hawley said. “I may have to re-familiarize myself with some of the newer road names since the last time I was on patrol on the South End was in 1990, but it shouldn’t be a big change. I’m looking forward to it.”
Hawley is currently the North Whidbey precinct commander. He’s held the position for 11 years, ever since stepping away from the sheriff position in 2007.
Hawley served as sheriff for 11 years after taking over for his predecessor midterm. He served for three terms.
“I’ve worked in practically every position for the sheriff’s office,” Hawley said. “At one point I was the jail commander, worked ICOM dispatch and I’ve been a detective.”
Since Hawley lives on the South End, he said it made sense for him to fill the void left by Tingstad’s retirement. He’s also familiar with his new team; he says he’s worked with all the deputies based out of the South Whidbey precinct as he’s worked for the Island County Sheriff’s Office for about 30 years.
Hawley made international headlines last year when he arrested Arcan Cetin, the man who killed five people in the Cascade Mall shooting in Burlington.
Cetin was arrested in Oak Harbor after the sheriff’s office discovered he had connections to the city. Hawley is known in the sheriff’s office for his ability to track people down, but attributes the arrest to “being in the right place at the right time.”
The new South Whidbey precinct commander is also a published novelist. Hawley has penned two murder mystery novels, “Double Bluff” and “Silent Proof.” Both are set in Seattle, despite one taking the name of the public beach in Freeland.
The books were published in 2002 and 2003 respectively.
Eventually, Lt. Jeff Myers will leave Camano Island and replace Hawley as the head deputy at the North Whidbey precinct, according to Sheriff Mark Brown.