City welcomes two new police officers

March 6, 2009

By Jim Feehan

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Two new officers have been hired to patrol the streets of Newcastle as two others moved on to neighboring law enforcement agencies.



The new officers are Melissa Deer and Gavin Anderson. The departing officers, Tony Lockhart and Steve Johnson, transferred to King County Metro transit police and the city of Sammamish, respectively.

Newcastle and about a dozen other suburban cities contract with the King County Sheriff’s Office. Six deputies and Chief Melinda Irvine are assigned to Newcastle. 

The new officers are a former Coast Guard officer and a deputy who might be familiar to some baseball players at Hazen and Liberty high schools. 

Deer grew up in the coastal Oregon community of Coos Bay. At an early age, she said she figured she’d either work for the Coast Guard or be a police officer. She ended up doing both.

Deer, 36, has worked nine years on patrol in King County, as well as a year with the burglary and larceny detective unit. Prior to working for the sheriff’s office, Deer spent four years with the Coast Guard in the San Francisco Bay area.

Deer said she welcomes the transfer to Newcastle after working out of precincts headquartered in Maple Valley and Burien.

“I like the fact that people get to know you when you work at a contract city,” she said. “Newcastle is a nice little community where the crime rate is not too high.”




Anderson, 28, was born in Seattle and grew up in Renton’s Fairwood neighborhood. He was considering a career in journalism and had been accepted into the School of Communication at the University of Washington. 

But a funny thing happened on the way to j-school. A trip to the Washington State Patrol Academy in Shelton changed his career path.

“I realized I wanted a career in law enforcement,” he said. “I wanted to put the bad guys in jail. I also wanted to make a difference in my community.”

For the past two years, Anderson served as a 911 operator. He recently completed the state Criminal Justice Training Center Police Academy in Burien before arriving at Newcastle.

“I like the feedback you get in this community, whether it’s from the chief or the City Council,” he said. “The communication is a lot more immediate and direct.” 

In his off time, Anderson serves as a football and baseball official. He’s officiated Arena Football League 2 games as well as football games at Central Washington University and Pacific Lutheran University.

Closer to home, Anderson has officiated high school games, including the KingCo Conference.

“Yes, I’ve covered Hazen and Liberty baseball games,” Anderson said.

Both Deer and Anderson will work swing shift, as did their predecessors Lockhart and Johnson.

Irvine said both officers have diverse backgrounds and enjoy interacting with the public.

“Gavin has a strong interest in traffic safety and DUI enforcement,” Irvine said. “He will be spending much of his free time addressing traffic concerns throughout the city.

“Through her years of experience, Melissa has developed strong investigative skills and the ability to dig deep to identify suspects to solve crimes.”

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