Story & Video by Scott Schaefer

At the Kent Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 3, Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla presented an update on Public Safety in the city.

The Chief spoke about crime trends, new body cams that officers are now wearing, bike cops, staffing needs and more.

He also addressed that the department’s biggest current challenges are differences with the King County Prosecutor’s Office.

“The failure to prosecute low level drugs is perpetuating high crime,” he said. “And the sentencing for vehicle crimes encourages more crime.”

Staffing also continues to be a challenge, as the city continues to rank near the bottom of comparable cities for officers per capita – which is almost half of what Seattle has.

“We’re not able to provide the priority services that you deserve,” he said.

“The King County Criminal Justice system is failing,” Padilla said at just over the 30-minute mark of his presentation. “We are at odds with the Prosecutor’s Office right now.”

The Chief also made it clear that there will likely be a new tax on the ballot in 2020, to raise money for the department; the last attempt failed in 2018.

Some of the other interesting updates include:

  • Statewide Homicides Up 5% – but Kent is down 28.6%
  • Statewide Violent Crime Up 16% – but Kent is trending down 7% – 13%

“Although we are trending downward, we are significantly higher in the areas of Commercial Burglaries and Vehicle Thefts compared to the rest of the region.” the Chief said.

Watch the full video of the Chief’s presentation below (running time 52:39), and download his PowerPoint here (PDF file).