Quinaults release police chief, officers

The Quinault Indian Nation has released its Chief of Police, along with its deputy chief and three other officers.

The officers were released last month, following Chief Dallas Hensley’s dismissal April 10. In a written reply to questions from The Daily World, Quinault Nation President Fawn Sharp confirmed the date of Hensley’s departure but said, “Due to a confidentiality agreement, the Nation will not comment further.”

Sharp declined to comment on the dismissal of the other officers, or confirm the exact number dismissed.

“As there are grievance procedures available to the officers involved, there will be no comment at this time,” Sharp wrote.

The Daily World spoke to two of the dismissed officers. Both declined to comment on advice of their tribal advocate because of pending grievances. Most were released from their positions in May, and one was reportedly released in April.

Clay Butler is serving as interim police chief, and Sharp described him as “a Quinault tribal member and former federal officer who is highly qualified for the position.”

As of May 20, the tribe had not yet begun the hiring process for a new chief. A message seeking an update on the hiring process was not returned as of press time.

“As with all upper management positions, the hiring is handled by the Quinault Business Committee or Executive Committee of the Business Committee with the Business Committee’s concurrence,” Sharp explained.

Asked about the tribe’s policy on firing officials like the police chief, Sharp wrote: “Many of the Nation’s upper management positions are contract employees. The terms of employment are governed by the contract. That includes the Chief of Police.”

Hensley was sworn in as chief in December 2011. He is not a tribal member. Hensley’s law enforcement career began in 1978 as a patrol officer in Hoquiam. He was a founding member of the Grays Harbor Drug Task Force and received the 1993 Daily World Officer of the Year Award.

Brionna Friedrich, a Daily World writer, can be reached at 537-3933 or by email at bfriedrich@thedailyworld.com