Winthrop marshal seeks review of state commission’s order
An Okanogan County Superior Court judge was expected to rule this week on a request by suspended Winthrop Marshal Daniel Tindall to temporarily stay his decertification as a police officer in Washington state.
Tindall and his attorney, James David of Northwest Legal Advocates LLC in Vancouver, appeared before Superior Court Judge Henry Rawson on Nov. 21. David offered a petition asking the court to stay a decertification order by the state Criminal Justice and Training Commission (CJTC), pending further judicial review.
David said that if Rawson issues the stay, Tindall can return to work in Winthrop while the CJTC proceedings are reviewed. If the stay is not granted, Tindall will lose his ability to work for Winthrop, David said, “effectively meaning he will have to move to a new area to seek work rather than the place he has wanted to work for years.”
The CJTC is a state board that establishes standards for law enforcement officers. The commission’s decertification order was issued in late October after an administrative hearing in Burien in mid-October. The CJTC had filed a statement of charges seeking to revoke Tindall’s peace officer certification on Feb. 13 of this year, “on the basis that he was discharged from the WSP [Washington State Patrol] for disqualifying misconduct” in 2015, according to the CJTC revocation order.
The revocation order refers to a 2015 incident in which Tindall — then a Washington State Patrol trooper — was accused of making false or misleading statements related to the investigation of his son for alleged criminal activity. In August 2015, Tindall retired from the WSP after 25 years of service. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge in the case involving attempted arson charges against his teenage son Wyatt, who was suspected of setting a vehicle on fire.
About 30 people, including friends, family, supporters from Winthrop and other law enforcement officers, packed the courtroom last week in support of Tindall.
David argued that the CJTC case against Tindall was “built on unsupported hearsay evidence, and often tertiary hearsay evidence,” and that the commission considered contradictory evidence in making its decision.
David contended that Tindall answered questions truthfully during the investigation into his son’s activities and made no false or misleading statements.
“Even if the CJTC could prove False of Misleading statement, the statute still does not allow for revocation of a certification unless the person resigns because of the pending discipline,” David said in his petition.
The CJTC had maintained that Tindall resigned from the WSP in anticipation of being disciplined, and based its action partly on that premise. However, David provided evidence that Tindall’s August 2015 retirement had been announced much earlier and his superiors were aware of it. “The WSP further agreed that the retirement was not in anticipation of discipline,” David said in his petition.
Outgoing Okanogan County Prosecutor Branden Platter also reviewed the case and concluded that “he [Platter] had no problem with Tindall’s continued employment,” David said.
David’s supporting documentation included a sworn statement by Tacoma attorney Sunni Young Ko, Tindall’s former attorney. “From the start,” Ko said, “how the prosecuting attorney’s office handled Mr. Tindall and his wife were highly unusual, bordering on prosecutorial vindictiveness.”
Ko said in her statement that the state gave the Tindalls only one option: There would be no prosecution of their son, and he would be allowed to be processed through mental health court, if they pleaded guilty to the state’s charges.
The supporting documents also included a letter from former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire to the CJTC, urging the commission not to revoke Tindall’s certification, as well as other letters citing Tindall’s character. Also included were statements from Twisp Police Chief Paul Budrow, urging that Tindall be allowed to keep his certification, and from former Winthrop Mayor Rick Northcott, who hired Tindall. Northcott noted that Tindall “is well liked in the community.”
The state was represented via phone by Assistant Attorney General Susie Giles-Klein. She relied mainly on the CJTC’s decertification order to explain and defend the state’s action. Giles-Klein also listed several statutory requirements for judicial review of the decertification order, and said that David’s arguments did not satisfy them.
Klein said that the community’s health, safety and public welfare would be in jeopardy if Tindall is allowed to be a police officer because he is “unfit” and a risk. She said the CJTC’s order was based on factual findings, not allegations.
David responded that the CJTC “never made an assertion that it [the order] was on grounds of public health, safety and welfare.”
“It does not harm anyone to have a stay,” David told Rawson.
Winthrop Mayor Sally Ranzau said earlier that the town has placed Tindall on a 30-day civil service suspension with pay pending the decertification review. Ranzau said that Tindall was placed on leave because of his exemplary service to the town since he was hired as marshal in August 2017.
While the revocation order is in effect, Tindall cannot act as marshal. The town has two full-time deputies, Doug Johnson and Ken Bajema, both hired by Tindall since he took over as marshal last year.
If the revocation order stands, Tindall could not file for reinstatement as a peace office until five years after the order was issued.
Tindall’s 25 years with the state patrol included more than 12 years on the executive protection unit. He is one of only 11 Washington troopers awarded the Award of Honor, the state patrol’s highest recognition for an outstanding act of valor. He has owned property in the Methow Valley for more than two decades. He lived here from 1995 to 2002 when he was assigned as a state trooper to Okanogan County.