MABTON — The City of Mabton’s Police Department “is now complete,” according to part-time Police Chief Steve Araguz, who spoke by phone last week regarding the Nov. 12, contract approval of new Mabton Police Lieutenant David Marks. “We spent what we budgeted for, and are very pleased to have him with us,” said Araguz.
Marks, fresh to the community by a day, attended the evening council meeting and offered an impromptu introduction following the unanimous approval by full council, of his one-year contract which designates him as Mabton’s first ever Police Lieutenant.
When asked by an audience member when he starts, Marks commented, “Looks like today.”
Marks also noted in his brief remarks he is married; his wife is a west side police detective and the couple has two children.
The small community has been without full-time police protection since mid-January 2019. Araguz has served in the part-time Chief capacity since late Summer 2019. He is also the full-time chief in the neighboring community of Granger.
Marks has 22 years experience, of that, the last four years in Langley, Wash., as chief. According to the City of Langley Human Resources Department, Marks was employed by the city from Feb. 8, 2006, until Sept. 7, 2018.
His departure was clouded in months long, community-wide emotion and conflict following a take-down incident with a known citizen with disabilities and a history of combativeness, according to Whidbey Island news reports. There were several other incidents in which the former chief was involved, one dating back 20 years, which contributed to the community unrest.
When asked about the background check portion of the Marks’ interview process, Mayor Laura Vazquez responded there were numerous candidates and “. . . several interviews for the position.” She explained the process was ‘very extensive,” and “the information was discussed and reviewed. A lot of the information was very false, at the end of the day.”
Vazquez also noted the interviews were done in a community leadership panel format and the vote to hire Marks was by consensus.
A swearing in ceremony is planned for the next regular council meeting, according to Chief Araguz on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m.