Kent selects four police chief finalists

Four men from police departments in California, Cheney, Kent and Tukwila have been picked as finalists to replace Steve Strachan as the new Kent Police chief.

David Frazer, the McFarland, Calif., Police chief; Jeffry Sale, the Cheney Police chief; Ken Thomas, a Kent Police captain; and Michael Villa, the Tukwila Police assistant chief are the finalists, according to a Jan. 6 city of Kent media release.

Strachan left Kent Jan. 3 to start his new job as chief deputy with the King County Sheriff's Office. He was the Kent chief for 4 1/2 years.

Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke announced the finalists.

“After careful consideration of the 18 applications, four finalists were selected to participate in on-site interviews,” Cooke said. “Our screeners spent several hours reviewing the applications, determining minimum qualifications and compatibility of experience for our community. We are pleased with the quality of the four finalists and look forward to concluding the interview process, and selecting our new police vhief, hopefully by early March.”

• Frazer, the only out-of-state candidate, brings 24 years of police, fire and emergency operations experience. His current position is police chief of McFarland, a city of about 13,000 in the San Joaquin Valley, where he established a new department in 120 days after ceasing to contract with Kern County for police services.

Previously, Frazer was with the Rohnert Park, Calif., Police Department (city population 43,000) where he served as division commander for the 78-member department since 1986. He holds a master's degree in leadership from St. Mary’s College of California. He lives in Rohnert Park.

• Sale, who has served since 2004 as chief of the 25-member Cheney Police Department, population 10,500 (20,000 when Eastern Washington University classes are in session), has 32 years of law enforcement experience, including 25 years with the Washington State Patrol.

He is credited with developing a multi-agency team to identify and provide services to at-risk youth and speaks nationally on law enforcement issues. Sale is a graduate of Washington State University and the FBI National Academy. He lives in Spokane.

• Thomas, a 22-year veteran of the 185-member Kent Police Department, currently serves as captain. He is credited with leading the city’s community oriented policing unit resulting in reduced residential burglaries and auto thefts.

Thomas holds a master's degree in organizational development from Central Washington University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He lives in Puyallup.

• Villa brings 20 years of police experience to his current position as assistant police chief for Tukwila. The 87-member department serves a population of 18,190 residents (140,000 daytime population). Villa is credited with the development and implementation of a multi-pronged strategy which has resulted in a decrease of residential burglaries.

Villa saw active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, has a business degree from Central Washington University and graduated from the FBI National Academy. He lives in Auburn.

Three separate panels, including one comprised of community members, will interview the finalists Jan. 13.

Kent is the sixth largest city in Washington with a population or more than 114,000.

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