Washougal police chief to help Vancouver PD

Police Chief Wendi Steinbronn agrees to assist short-staffed neighboring police department on a part-time basis

Washougal Police Chief Wendi Steinbronn has agreed to temporarily work part-time for the short-handed Vancouver Police Department.

According to an interagency agreement approved by the Vancouver City Council on Monday, Nov. 28, Steinbronn will assist the city of Vancouver by reviewing internal affairs investigations and overseeing policies for two or three days per week for up to five months.

“The Vancouver Police Department’s Office of the Chief is currently understaffed by two assistant police chiefs,” according to a city of Vancouver staff report. “Washougal’s law enforcement services will fill an immediate need. Washougal Police Chief Wendi Steinbronn understands Washington law, labor and the need for strong policy. She has been the Washougal police chief for nearly three years and has no conflict of interests within the Vancouver Police Department. She is a trusted and tested executive officer who understands southwest Washington law enforcement.”

The city of Vancouver requested Steinbronn’s help to “alleviate the current workload” of police chief Jeff Mori and assistant chief Troy Price, according to the report, which also states that the city is currently recruiting for two additional assistant chiefs and expects to have those positions filled by the spring of 2023.

“I will be part of police administration at headquarters and will assist with policy and professional standards,” Steinbronn told the Post-Record. “As chief in a small city, the captain and I make up the administration and we handle all of those areas, albeit on a smaller scale. I have worked in all of those areas and held command staff roles in the operations, investigations and services branches. My career in Portland and my experience so far in Washougal has given me skills that I feel will help the VPD with their workload while they search for the permanent assistant chiefs.”

Vancouver Police Chief Jeff Mori called Steinbronn a “good and trusted friend” during the Nov. 28 meeting.

“The main reason I agreed is that Vancouver Police Department needs the help and I have the experience Chief Mori needs,” Steinbronn said. “I’ve gotten to know him over the last three years through the Law Enforcement Council and other meetings of mutual interest, and I’m honored that he trusts me with this role. After talking with City Manager David Scott, we felt we were in a position to be able to lend assistance on a temporary, part-time basis. I believe all of our Clark County agencies (should) pitch in where we can and help.”

The city of Vancouver will reimburse the city of Washougal for Steinbronn’s services at a rate of $105 per hour, according to the interagency agreement.

“Captain (Zane) Freschette will serve as the acting chief on the days I am out of the office,” Steinbronn said. “I see this as a great opportunity for him as well. He is well-versed in running the department, and he will do an excellent job in carrying out our mission.”