Republic, WA – The police chief who ran against Washington Governor Jay Inslee said he learned shortly before his failed election bid that the department he has been serving for a decade has abruptly been defunded.
Republic Police Department (RPD) Chief Loren Culp announced in a Facebook Live video on Wednesday that the city council opted to cut the police department from the city’s budget.
Chief Culp has been working for the RPD for 10 years – the last four of which he has served as the chief, he said.
He and the RPD K9 were the only members of the department when the city council decided to slash it from the budget altogether, KING reported.
Chief Culp explained in the video that he took a leave of absence in late August or early September to focus on his campaign after speaking with Republic Mayor Elbert Koontz.
“Talked to my boss, the mayor, everything was fine,” the chief said. “Come to find out, a couple days before this election, the city council had a special meeting – not their normally-scheduled meeting, but a special meeting – and they voted to defund the police department. Including my job.”
According to Koontz, the city began contracting with the Ferry County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) to cover Republic’s law enforcement needs while Chief Culp was on leave for the campaign, KING reported.
On Oct. 30, the city council voted 3-1 in favor of approving a services agreement with the FCSO for 2020 and 2021, according to the news outlet.
Koontz confirmed that the RPD has been shut down.
The department had been in operation for 120 years, according to Chief Culp.
Chief Culp can apply at the sheriff’s office under the new contract, but he would have to be willing to work for a lower wage at a reduced rank, KING reported.
“Incredible, right?” the chief said in the Facebook Live video. “Small-minded people playing political games.”
Despite having received many awards throughout his career, Chief Culp said the city council has not offered him any parting words of appreciation or recognition since yanking his job out from under him.
“Not even a letter of ‘thank you,’ not a plaque for 10 years of service, not ‘hey Loren, thanks but we don’t need you anymore,’” he said. “They just voted to defund the police department, and away with that went my job.”
Chief Culp described the abrupt decision as “a knife in the back.”
Koontz told KING that the city had been considering defunding the RPD for approximately one year.