Tenino Mayor Eric Strawn confirmed the hire Friday. He said Hutchings will make a “qualified, honorable and honest” chief.
“We’re on the same page for what we’re trying to do here in Tenino,” Strawn said. “John is one of those gentlemen who honestly want to help Tenino succeed.”
Hutchings retired Tuesday after working for Olympia for 27 years. During his tenure, he won a Fulbright Police Research Fellowship, a scholarship that took him to England to study critical-incident stress for police officers. Hutchings also serves as a board member for Together, a nonprofit that works with young people in Thurston County.
Hutchings was unavailable for comment Friday.
Hutchings replaces Sean Gallagher, who resigned in March. Strawn said Gallagher resigned after Strawn had planned to place him on paid administrative leave after finding evidence of “conduct unbecoming of an officer.”
Strawn said the evidence was contained in police reports detailing the Lacey Police Department’s investigation into the December 2010 suicide of Gallagher’s wife, Marlo.
According to the investigative file, Gallagher denied, then confirmed, that he was having an affair with a Yelm police officer at the time of his wife’s death. Strawn has said he was disturbed that Gallagher did not initially disclose his affair.
Gallagher denied Strawn’s allegations and said he resigned because he had conflicts with Strawn, saying Strawn was trying to take over operational control of the Police Department.
Strawn said budget constraints are among the challenges Hutchings will face in Tenino. The Police Department consists of four sworn officers and one administrative staff member, he said. The job pays roughly $4,200 to $4,300 a month, Strawn said.
Former Lacey Police Chief Larry Dickerson served as interim chief after Gallagher resigned, Strawn said.
“I’m blessed to have such qualified people,” Strawn email@example.com 360-754-5445 theolympian.com/thisjustin @JeremyPawloski