On Wednesday, Feb. 7, the Kent Chamber of Commerce held a members luncheon that featured Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas, who spoke about the department’s need to pass Proposition A on the April 24, 2018 ballot.
At Monday night’s (Feb. 6) meeting, the Kent City Council voted 7 – 0 in favor of sending Proposition A, a police and criminal justice ballot measure, to Kent voters in a special election on April 24, 2018. In a separate action, the Council passed a resolution to encourage voters to vote in favor of Proposition A.
If passed, the proposition will increase utility taxes by 2 percent, impacting taxes on electricity, manufactured and natural gas, telephone (cell and land lines) and cable TV (excludes satellite TV). The impact of the utility tax increase on the average Kent household is estimated to be just over $11 per month.
If the ballot measure passes, the increase in utility taxes will raise about $4.8 million annually to be used exclusively to hire more than 20 police officers and supporting corrections officers, prosecutors, public defenders and court clerks. It will also allow the police department to expand operations of its special investigations unit to seven days a week.
Currently, there are fewer Kent police officers per 1,000 residents when compared to similarly-situated Washington cities. The addition of more officers to the Kent police force will bring Kent’s ratio of officers to population up to the average. Also, the addition of more officers will reduce the amount of overtime Kent police officers currently work.
Thomas was promoted to Chief on Jan. 21, 2011, and has been with the Kent Police Department since 1989. He previously served as Captain of the Patrol Division. As an Officer and Sergeant he held various assignments within the agency including Patrol, Administrative Officer, Narcotics Detective, and Supervisor of the Major Crimes Detective Unit. As a Patrol Lieutenant, Thomas supervised the Neighborhood Response Team, the Special Investigations Unit (Gangs, Narcotics, and ProAct), the Special Operations Unit (bikes and marine patrol), the Field Training Officer program, Crime Analysis, and was Commander of the SWAT team. Thomas is credited with leading Kent’s Community Oriented Policing Unit that has resulted in reduced residential burglaries and auto thefts.
Below is a video of Thomas’ presentation, as shot and edited by ILK Publisher/Editor Scott Schaefer:
Here are some screen captures of Thomas’ Powerpoint: