On Wednesday, Nov. 26, the Kent Police Department took time to remember and honor the contributions that Mike Buckingham made to our community.

Police were joined by Mayor Dana Ralph, members of Kent City Council, Washington State Patrol, and members of Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority to dedicate a memorial sign along Willis Street.

Mike was serving in the Washington State Patrol when his vehicle was hit by a drunk driver, causing significant burns to his body. After medically retiring, he went on to start the Kent Police Department Drinking Drivers Task Force, where he served our community for more than 30 years.

Additionally, Mike founded the Kent Traffic School in 2005, and would later go on to staff the school.

He spent the rest of his life traveling the country talking to kids about the dangers of drunk driving before he passed away from cancer a few years ago.

“It was a privilege to recognize Mike’s service to the State Patrol, the Kent Police Department and the community as a whole,” Mayor Ralph said.

Here’s more from Kent P.D.:

“Mike Buckingham had a profound impact on the lives in and around the Kent and across the state. He was instrumental in establishing and serving on the Kent Police Department’s Drinking Driver Task Force for over 30 years. He joined the Drinking and Driving Task Force as a board member in 1983, and in 2001 he was hired part time as a program assistant to the Drinking Driving Task Force. He also received the Distinguished Service Award from MADD, in 2001. Mike Buckingham developed the Kent Traffic School in 2005 and later became its coordinator. Mike also made a lasting impact as a youth board member and as an active participant with the “Gift of Life” program, put on by the Kent Regional Fire Authority.

“Mike Buckingham’s impact and influence on those he came into contact with cannot be truly measured, particularly in regards to the work he did with teen drivers. Mike’s determination and commitment to life prompted the Washington State Patrol to generate the MIKE BUCKINGHAM Award to celebrate the survival of a Washington State Patrol employee who has been involved in a critical incident and suffered physical injuries while going above and beyond to protect others.

“Mike Buckingham believed that whether you are a commissioned police officer, a public safety professional, or just an average citizen, everyone has the ability in some way to make an impact and help prevent needless impaired driving related injuries and deaths. Mike is an inspiration to us all.”

Photos courtesy Kent Police Department.