Big Changes in Store for Kent Police
Chief's pending retirement will lead to multiple position changes for the police department
The pending retirement of Kent Police Chief James Peach on Jan. 23 means quite a few changes are in store for the city's police department.
Kent Police Capt. Michelle Lee will take over as the department's new chief, leaving a captain's position open. A current lieutenant is expected to be promoted to fill the captain's position. The promotion will leave an open spot at lieutenant.
The head of the department's detective bureau, Lt. Ray Stein, is retiring on the same day as Peach, leaving another open spot at lieutenant. Two more lieutenants will be retiring by March. And two sergeants also are retiring in the first quarter of 2011.
So by March, the police department will have a new chief, new captain, three new lieutenants and three new sergeants because of all the promotions. And the department intends to hire three new patrol officers to fill the vacancies created by the promotions.
Lee said the changes are significant because they're taking place throughout all the ranks.
"It's not just one or two different changes," she said. "It's all the way from administration to changes in our detective bureau to changes in our patrol division all the way down to our newest officers. We're going to be scrambling for a while just because of the amount of changes we're going to experience."
Kent Safety Director William Lillich said he's confident the department will handle all the simultaneous transitions.
"Will there be growing pains? Maybe a little bit," Lillich said. "Because everybody varies a little bit when they're confronted with making judgmental calls rather than hard-and-fast issue calls. But I'm comfortable that the parameters for the judgments that these people will need to make will be done with consistency."
Most of the officers are expected to be sworn in to the new positions at Kent City Council's first regular meeting of 2011 on Jan. 19.