Langley police chief sworn in during memorable meeting

Tavier Wasser has been named to head the city’s police department.

Standing before a crowd of previous coworkers, members of the Snohomish Tribe, residents of South Whidbey, the Langley City Council and his own family, Tavier Wasser vowed to foster a sense of security and inclusiveness.

“My whole goal is to make everyone feel safe. Everyone,” he said. “If there is scrutiny or guidelines or just education on how to better do that, I demand that that be brought to me because … my purpose is to serve the people.”

On Monday afternoon, Wasser was sworn in as chief of police during a special meeting, which was the first time the council met in person since the pandemic began. He was interviewed by King-5 News just prior to the meeting for a story about him being the small city’s first Black police chief.

A South Whidbey High School alum, Wasser is a Clinton resident and, most recently, a patrol deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office. As a Presidential Security Marine, Wasser was in charge of protecting former President Barack Obama and his assets.

During the half hour meeting, community members shared their joy that Wasser, the top-scoring candidate for the Langley job, was chosen by Mayor Scott Chaplin.

Ezekiel Tennet, a member of the police chief hiring task force, said he was excited.

“I really believe in love and unity and I think Langley is just the place for all of us, my brothers and my sisters, to have that love to just flow and feel safe. I feel safe already with this chief and this mayor,” he said, earning cheers from the crowd gathered in Island Church.

Kenesha Lewin, another member of the task force, said the members wanted to make sure the city’s next chief of police was culturally competent, culturally aware and knowledgeable about mental health issues on Whidbey.

“Let’s not just be here at the church to clap and say yay, but let’s support our police chief moving forward,” she urged.

During the meeting, Wasser also fielded questions about de-escalation and differing political persuasions.

“The First Amendment is a very important fact of our great nation. Making sure that the community can exercise that right in a safe and healthy environment is the key,” he said. “There are going to be different-minded people, some positive, some negative. My intention is to allow all of those people to have their opinions as long as they’re not violent or aggressive towards anyone else and that nobody’s safety is put in jeopardy.”

The four council members who were present unanimously approved Wasser’s appointment to the head role.

Councilmember Rhonda Salerno challenged him to be his authentic self.

“I hope that you will just stay as beautiful and open and as full of heart as you appear,” she said.