Three Kent Police officers recently submitted letters of resignation, including one moving to a Minnesota police agency and another one joining a fire department.
The resignations are part of a trend Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla explained to the City Council in July when he said 13 officers were resigning this year and eight retiring out of a 160-member department.
“After much discussion with my wife and family, I have decided to take a police officer position in the city of Woodbury, Minnesota,” wrote Officer Matthew Rausch in an Aug. 17 email that was part of the city’s Civil Service Commission agenda packet for its Aug. 25 meeting. “I have taken this position to be closer to mine and my wife’s family.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working alongside my fellow officers and serving the city of Kent. I am very thankful for all the training, experience and friendships I have gained over these past nearly seven years. I wish all the best to KPD in the future and you all will be in my prayers.”
Rausch was one of the two Kent officers involved in the pursuit and fatal shooting of Giovonn Joseph-McDade, 20, on June 24, 2017. Rausch initially stopped Joseph-McDade for an expired registration and began the short pursuit when Joseph-McDade took off. The parents of Joseph-McDade filed a civil rights suit against the city of Kent, which settled with the family earlier this year for $4.4 million. Officer William Davis joined the pursuit and fired the fatal shots when he claimed Joseph-McDade tried to run him over.
Officer Tyler Birkhofer resigned to take a position with Mountain View Fire and Rescue, which serves much of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and the city of Black Diamond.
“It has been a pleasure to serve as a law enforcement officer for the last 11 years, nine years of which were with the Kent Police Department,” Birkhofer wrote in an Aug. 16 email. “Unfortunately, I feel it is time for me to move on to new things and retire my commission. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity that has been presented to me.
“However, it would be in my best interests if I accepted the position that Mountain View Fire and Rescue has offered me. I appreciate being able to work for the Kent Police Department and I wish you all the best.”
Officer Adam Tanvas submitted a letter of resignation on Aug. 10.
“It is with regret that I tender my resignation from the Kent Police Department effective immediately,” Tanvas wrote. “I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve for you and the city of Kent. Due to ongoing family issues and the increasing needs of my son, I am unable to continue to work for the Kent Police Department. I offer my best wishes for the city of Kent and the Kent Police Department.”
Padilla said during his report to the council that 13 officers were leaving Kent to take jobs in other states. Two of those are leaving the profession. An average of fewer than one Kent officer has left the state in prior years. The eight retiring officers doubles the department average of fewer than three retirements per year.