Former detective hits city of Poulsbo with $10 million claim

POULSBO — Grant Romaine, a former detective for the Poulsbo Police Department, has filed a $10 million notice of claim against the city of Poulsbo.

Responding to inquiries from the North Kitsap Herald Tuesday, the city released an official statement that Romaine has alleged constructive discharge, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil rights violations.

Romaine resigned from the department in December 2007 amid an independent investigation conducted by the Bremerton Police Department.

The 10-page claim was filed May 12, and Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade said Tuesday it is still being assessed. The city has not yet responded to Romaine or his lawyer, Randy Loun of Bremerton. The city has requested a full investigation of the allegations.

"Many of the allegations included in the notice are not supported by the facts," the city's statement reads. "Many are irrelevant to his decision to quit his position, which occurred just before the date he was scheduled to respond to the information in the Bremerton investigation. His allegations also constitute an unwarranted personal attack against the Mayor, whose involvement in the investigation was minimal."

The statement goes on to say, "by personally attacking the Mayor and distorting the facts surrounding certain events, Mr. Romaine is attempting to undermine the credibility of the City administration because City Officials responded appropriately to a citizen complaint by pursuing an internal investigation."

The North Kitsap Herald has requested a copy of the claim, and the city of Poulsbo is currently awaiting its attorney's nod to release the information.

Contacted Monday, Romaine referred all questions to Loun. Loun returned a phone message Tuesday, but said as per his norm he would refrain from comment. He said the claim should speak for itself.

Attorney Eileen Lawrence, with Davis Grimm Payne & Marra of Seattle, was assigned to the city by its risk manager, the Association of Washington Cities.

The investigation into Romaine, which began in September 2007, alleged he abused his police authority. The report stated he indulged in actions of harassment toward women, lying on the job and surfing law enforcement databases for personal searches. Accounts in the report against Romaine date back a decade.

The report also states there are indications Romaine was untruthful in one, possibly two, previous internal affairs investigations. Being untruthful in an internal investigation is grounds for de-commissioning an officer and constitutes a "very serious" violation of an officer's oath, the city's statement says.

The investigation began at the request of former Poulsbo Interim Chief Jake Evans.

Last year, Romaine was placed on administrative leave Oct. 8 and resigned Dec. 11. The resignation was not forced.

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 Bremerton report was discharged from the Navy for a psychological issue before joining Poulsbo's police force.

The city said many of its officials are concerned the judicial system is being misused by Romaine. If the legal system is used improperly, according to the statement, the city has the right to seek reimbursement of its costs and expenses in any litigation and will evaluate whether seeking recovery of these expenses is warranted under the facts and applicable to law.

More complete coverage of this story will be available in the June 7 edition of the Herald.

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