I have been thinking about how policing in our country has changed so drastically over the years.
For the most part, police departments in America’s cities have been respected by citizens all over our land, even in areas where it was common knowledge that the local force might have been corrupt.
In Chicago, while in college during the 1970s, we were told to never drive our car on the expressway without a significant amount of cash in our pocket in case our vehicle broke down and we had to cover the expenses so our car wouldn’t be impounded.
I once personally wrestled with our local police departments after my trailer containing a prized motorcycle and leather accessories were stolen. I reported it, but Kent Police said that the items were taken outside of its jurisdiction. However, King County deputies said that they were stolen from inside city limits, so it wasn’t their problem.
I went on a personal investigation and found my stuff was actually in King County. Deputies did verify the description of my stolen possessions, but when they checked Kent for my theft report, they couldn’t find it from two days before, meaning I couldn’t prove the stuff was mine. When they did discover their mistake, all the items, including my motorcycle, had been relocated.
I have had a special interest in our police department for some years now, even when there was a time when I didn’t. But over the years, our city, our people and our government have evolved. We have changed. As a growing community, we have learned to live and work together.
The other day I joined Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas for coffee. What a treat it was to talk and get answers with the very knowledgeable police leader of our city. He spent the time to answer my specific questions and address some of my concerns. He was genuine and helpful.
Today, whenever I see a patrol car, I try to catch the officer’s attention, if they aren’t busy, and thank them for keeping us safe. We have a great police force with a fast-growing city of diverse population.
We must support our police as they work to protect us. They must grow with our growth, and we must grow along with them.
Don Dinsmore, Navy veteran and longtime Kent resident, regularly contributes to the Kent Reporter.