Spirit Lake Police Chief resigns

Print Article

   SPIRIT LAKE — Pat Lawless resigned as Spirit Lake's police chief effective immediately on Wednesday, citing personal reasons. Mayor Todd Clary said three police department employees, including Lawless, had a conversation that was "not appropriate for the workplace" and the other two have been disciplined. None of the employees were fired. When asked if any criminal activity was found against Lawless, Clary said, "Absolutely not."

   Clary declined to comment further, citing personnel reasons.

"Pat has been really good for the city," Clary said. "He's been strong into community policing and we need that in a small town. He's been very involved in the community. I understand his position and wish him the best."

   Lawless, who has been Spirit Lake's chief for three years and was with the department for nearly six, couldn't be reached for comment on Wednesday. A phone call to his cell phone was answered, but the man said it was the wrong number. A subsequent call to the number immediately afterward was not answered.

   Lawless, 37, was Spirit Lake's patrol sergeant for two and a half years before being promoted to chief to replace Wiley Ronnenberg, who resigned after three years at the helm to train police recruits in Afghanistan. Lawless has performed police work since 1996, previously working in Connecticut.

   City sources said Lawless hasn't been at work all week, but Clary wouldn't say if Lawless had been placed on administrative leave during that time.

   Spirit Lake City Council member Jimmy Brown Jr. said he heard that Lawless was in the process of being disciplined for an inappropriate conversation with two female police employees.

   "He hasn't been in this week, then I saw (officer) Jeremy McMillan driving Pat's patrol car," Brown said. "That's when I made the conclusion that something was going on with Pat."

   Clary said McMillan will take over some of the department's administrative duties until a chief is found, but stopped short of calling McMillan the interim chief because multiple employees will pitch in.

   Clary said the city will accept applications for the position for about a month. The salary range is $20 to $24 an hour.

   "We're probably looking at 60 days (to find a replacement)," Clary said.

Lawless was investigated for suspicion of child abuse earlier this year by police in Post Falls, where Lawless lives. Prosecutors decided not to pursue charges and the case was closed.

   A tort claim filed by a former Spirit Lake police officer seeking $5 million alleges sexual harassment by Lawless and that Clary failed to take swift and appropriate action.

   Clary declined to comment on the litigation, but added that Lawless is "very unhappy about the inaccuracy of a lot of accusations."

Print Article

Read More Local News

Flood watch boosts slide concerns

May 17, 2017 at 6:00 am | Priest River Times PRIEST RIVER — Bonner and Pend Oreille counties remained under a flood watch on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Spokane. Steady rains continued to fall over northern Idaho and ...

Comments

Read More

Gagnon honored at peace officer memorial

May 17, 2017 at 6:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — Bonner County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Gagnon, who was shot in line of duty earlier this year, was given a standing ovation during the 2017 Peace Officer’s Memorial ceremony on Monday. “He’...

Comments

Read More

Blanchard town hall full of questions

May 17, 2017 at 6:00 am | Priest River Times BLANCHARD — A full house welcomed county officials to the Blanchard Community Center May 11. Bonner County Commissioners Jeff Connolly, Dan McDonald, Glen Bailey, sheriff Daryl Wheeler, coroner Rober...

Comments

Read More

Kimble chosen to lead Priest River Elementary

May 17, 2017 at 6:00 am | Priest River Times PRIEST RIVER — Connie Kimble has accepted the offer to become Priest River Elementary School’s next principal, said West Bonner County School District business manager Jennifer Phillips Tuesday. Con...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 448-2431
P.O. Box 159
310 Church Street
Sandpoint Idaho 83864

©2017 Priest River Times Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X