Ken Thomas leaving, Assistant Chief Padilla taking over

On Tuesday (May 8), Kent Mayor Dana Ralph unexpectedly announced a key staffing change in the Kent Police Department – after 29 years in service, including seven years as police chief – Chief Ken Thomas will step aside to pursue other opportunities.

“Ken has accomplished a lot of great things during his time at the city, including lowering crime with intelligence-led policing and maintaining a high level of service with very limited resources,” said Mayor Dana Ralph. “I especially want to thank Ken for his passionate advocacy for Proposition A and for building bridges between our police department and diverse community.”

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve the Kent community for the past 29 years,” said Chief Thomas. “I want to thank the community for their support of our police department. I also want to thank the hardworking law enforcement professionals who keep our community safe every day.”

Mayor Ralph has named Assistant Chief Rafael “Raf” Padilla (pictured, right) as the city’s next police chief, effective today. Padilla began his law enforcement career as a police officer with the Honolulu Police Department in 1992. Padilla joined the Kent Police Department in 1997. Padilla is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Northwest Law Enforcement Command College, the International Association of Chiefs of Police – Leadership in Police Organization and holds an Executive Level Career Level certification through the WA State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

Padilla will earn between $119,316 – $185,000 annually, with the specific amount yet to be determined, according to the City.

“As an officer with the Kent Police Department for 21 years, Raf knows our city and this department inside and out. He has earned the respect of his fellow officers as well as the respect of our community,” said Mayor Ralph. “He has the leadership skills and abilities needed to build on the great work our police department is already doing to take the department to the next level, protecting and serving the Kent community.”

“I am so proud of the men and women of the Kent Police Department, and I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to lead them into the future,” said Padilla.