Frequent Asked Questions

The City of Stanwood contracts for law enforcement services through the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. The contract is identified as a "stand alone" contract, which allows the City of Stanwood to maintain its own police identity. All uniforms and vehicles are identified as Stanwood Police. All commissioned officers are Snohomish County Sheriff Office employees and follow the Snohomish County Sheriffs office policies and procedures. 

The deputies and staff of the Stanwood Police Department appreciate the support and trust that the members of our community provide. We strive to provide the highest quality law enforcement services to keep Stanwood the safe city that it is.

Here is a list of frequent asked questions 


Does your Use of Force Policy allow for chokeholds and strangleholds?                 

No“Chokeholds” and “strangleholds” are, by their very definition, designed to restrict airflow and are prohibited in the Snohomish County Sheriff Office Use of Force Policy followed by Stanwood Police Officers.

Some of our officers are trained in the Lateral Vascular Neck Restraint (LVNR) which is allowed in certain situations. LVNR is a carotid control hold, which does not restrict airflow. 

Does your Use of Force Policy require de-escalation?

Snohomish County Sheriff Office policy that is followed by Stanwood Officers requires our officers to only use the amount of force that reasonably appears necessary to bring an incident under control. Use of Force by our officers requires constant evaluation and even at its lowest level, the use of force is a serious responsibility. All use of force incidents are reviewed by a supervisor and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office of Professional Accountability.

Do you allow other officers to intervene when they see excessive force being used?

Our officers are mandated by Snohomish County Sheriff Office policy to stop excessive force when they see it.  “Any Officer present when observing another officer using force that is clearly beyond reasonable…..shall safely intercede to prevent the use of excessive force.” Officers are required to report any excessive force witnessed to a supervisor.

Does your Use of Force Policy require a warning before shooting?

Snohomish County Sheriff Office policy states: “Officer may use deadly force to effect the arrest or prevent the escape of a suspected felon when the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed or intends to commit a felony involving the inflicting or threatened inflicting of serious bodily injury or death and the officer reasonably believes that there is an imminent or future potential risk of serious bodily injury or death to others if the suspect is not immediately apprehended. Under such circumstances, a verbal warning should precede the use of deadly force where feasible”.

Does your Use of Force Policy require officers to exhaust all alternatives before shooting?

Snohomish County Sheriff Office entire use of force policy is based on the concept that force, when applied by an officer, must be reasonable and necessary. Snohomish County Sheriff Office policy states “In making the decisions to apply force and the level of force to be used, good judgment and accountability are essential. The decision to employ a given level of force must be based on the information known to the deputy or upon reasonable assumptions made by the deputy at the moment that force is applied. Facts unknown to the deputy, no matter how compelling, cannot be considered later in determining the propriety or justification for use of force.”

How does an officer determine what is reasonable force?

When determining what amount of force is to be used the Supreme Court list several factors that an officer may consider when using reasonable force: severity of the crime, does the subject pose an immediate threat to the officer or public, what level of force is the subject using against the officer, officer/subject size and strength, influence of drugs and alcohol, proximity of weapons. This is not an exhaustive list and our officers have to make split second decisions when use force.

Does your Use of Force Policy require a "use of force continuum?"

No, the term “use of force continuum" refers to an outdated use of force model. Snohomish County Sheriff Office use of force policy is grounded in the fundamental concepts of de-escalation and reasonableness. If force is necessary, then the officer uses only that amount of force that is reasonable given the facts and circumstances at the time of the event – and only for a legitimate law enforcement purpose. This is in line with current best practices in the policing profession

Do your officer’s wear body cameras?

No. Due to the budgetary, legislative, and privacy issues surrounding police worn body cameras, our officers are not able to utilize this tool.  Of note, is the aspect of public records requests involving recorded video. We continue to monitor the legislative action around this issue and connect with other local agencies that are implementing these systems. Currently, we do not have the staffing needed to redact the camera footage as part of a public disclosure request. As technology evolves, including the potential development of video redacting software, this process could become more manageable.

Are your officers trained to deal with the mentally ill?

Yes, all of our officers have received 8 hours of Crisis Intervention Training and 2 hours of refresher training each year in dealing with some of our most vulnerable citizens.

In 2015, the Governor signed into law the Doug Ostling Act requiring all Washington peace officers to receive eight hours of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training by the year 2021. CIT is designed to equip officers to effectively work with people in crisis, specifically with community members who may be experiencing mental health issues or other forms of crisis. CIT training emphasizes de-escalation techniques and how to connect those in need with community resources. Legislation also required peace officers to have at least two hours of refresher CIT training annually beginning in July of 2017 and we ensure our officers are up-to-date on this training.

Does Stanwood have its own police department?

Yes, Stanwood does have its own police department. The city of Stanwood has contracted with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office for police services since 1999. Stanwood is identified as a "stand alone" contract, which allows the city to maintain its own police identity to include policies and procedures that meet unique small city needs. All uniforms and vehicles are identified as Stanwood Police and we provide services to the city population of approximately 7,070.

How many officers work in Stanwood?

Currently Stanwood Police Department consists of eleven officers: a police chief, two sergeants, six patrol officers, a detective, and a school resource officer. Stanwood Police Department maintains 24/7 coverage of the city.

What do your officers do for community engagement?

We believe that our officers are part of the community in which they serve, in fact out of eleven officers, seven of our officers live in the Stanwood-Camano community. Along with living in the community, these officers and their families send their children to Stanwood Camano schools, have small businesses in the community, and volunteer in the our community and they are proud to call Stanwood-Camano home.

The Stanwood Police Department hosts and participates several community engagement events throughout the year:

  • National Night Out
  • Touch a Truck
  • Trunk or Treat
  • Coffee with a Cop
  • Tours of the police department