Poulsbo detective resigns amid investigation

POULSBO —— Poulsbo police Detective Grant Romaine has resigned after an internal investigation report surfaced revealing he allegedly abused his police authority. The report states he indulged in actions of harrasment toward women, lying on the job and surfing law enforcement databases for personal searches.

The investigation began Sept. 19, 2007, at the request of former Poulsbo Interim Chief Jake Evans, and was conducted by the Bremerton Police Department.

Romaine was placed on administrative leave Oct. 8 and resigned Dec. 11. Poulsbo Police Department Chief Dennis Swiney said no criminal charges have been filed. The resignation was not forced, nor is it an admission of guilt, he said.

Romaine was hired to Poulsbo's patrol force in August 1989 and has served as a School Resource Officer for North Kitsap High School. He ran but was not elected for a position on the North Kitsap School District Board of Directors in 2005, and according to the report was discharged from the Navy for a psychological issue before joining Poulsbo's police force. On Thursday, Romaine referred all questions to his attorney, Randy Loun, who did not return phone calls before press time.

The 61-page in-depth report prepared by Bremerton police was released by the city Thursday and contains findings of Romaine's excessive inappropriate usage of the Internet and police databases LInX and I/LEADS, as well as accounts of several police officers questioning his integrity. Accounts of alleged unsolicited and overbearing pursuits of women date back a decade, and dozens of names are listed as subjects of unauthorized searches, including the names of relatives, a former girlfriend and coworkers.

The report also states there are indications Romaine was untruthful in one, possibly two, previous internal affairs investigations, and would likely have been terminated by those findings according to current law.

Other officers, and at least one prosecutor, changed the way they conducted business to avoid issues caused by Romaine.

"When we dug further into this, we discovered a wide-spread belief among law enforcement officers in the North Kitsap area that Romaine does not always tell the truth and that he pursues women in an unprofessional manner," the report states.

It also reads that a woman, who's name was taken out of the report, "was victimized by Romaine simply because she was attractive. His illegal personal 'traffic stops' traumatized and embarrassed (her) causing her to fear all police officers to this day, a decade after the events."

Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade said she was aware of the investigation, and as far as she knows this particular issue is not one that has arisen before in the department. At high value for the city is maintaining good service and leadership, and the department will "continue to strive to have the best police force possible," she said.

For further details see Saturday's edition of the Herald.

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