Barnett suddenly leaves Seaside Police

Steve Barnett

SEASIDE — Steve Barnett, a veteran police officer who ran unsuccessfully for county sheriff in 2012, is no longer with the Seaside Police Department.

City Manager Mark Winstanley said Barnett has chosen to retire.

Winstanley said there was no explanation for the sudden move, which was effective Wednesday.

Sean Riddell, a Portland-based attorney for Barnett, declined to comment and said Barnett had signed a “nondisparagement request.”

When Seaside Police Chief Dave Ham promoted Barnett to lieutenant last year, he pointed to Barnett’s 40 years of law enforcement experience, including the past 32 years with the Seaside Police. Lt. Barnett served as the department’s lead criminal detective investigator for 17 years before returning to a patrol sergeant position.

The lieutenant position is the patrol division commander and serves as acting police chief in the absence of the chief.

A former candidate for Clatsop County sheriff, Barnett wrote a guest column for The Daily Astorian during his 2012 campaign that spurned the idea of expanding the Clatsop County Jail and questioned District Attorney Josh Marquis’ past work.

Barnett lost his election bid and claimed Marquis retaliated against him by never using him as an essential witness when trying cases.

Barnett alleged the District Attorney’s Office violated his right to free speech.

A U.S. District judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2014. Judge Marco Hernandez ruled Marquis and Chief Deputy District Attorney Ron Brown had discretion as prosecutors to decide whether Barnett should be used as an essential witness when trying cases.

Riddell said Barnett has appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.