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Kent Police Community Engagement

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Kent Police Community Project

In 2016, members of the Kent Police Department held 13 focus groups involving over 100 residents, business owners, and community members. The goal of the focus group was to determine if our department was meeting expectations of our community. What we found was for the most part we were, but we also heard of many areas we can do more to reach out and engage with the public. We have included the final focus group project report along with a summary which includes action items our department will be working towards. 

2016 Kent Police Focus Group Final Report

2016 Kent Police Focus Group Summary of Themes and Action Items

2016-2017 Kent Police Community Engagement Action Plan

Engagement with our community, outreach to the public and working better with everyone is a top priority for our police department. As we continue to implement action items and broaden our work, we will update this website with current information, upcoming events, and even research and trends about policing communities across our nation.

Here is a research brief published in July 2016 which focuses on how to reduce the fear of crime while increasing citizen support.  This report is interesting, timely, and helpful by providing research on how police and community relationships can be enhanced.

July 2016 Research Brief on Community Policing

Here is another article on how the law enforcement job is really a lot about public and community relations. We are trying hard to make every interaction you have with us as positive and relationship building as possible.

Police Work is Public Relations Article

Kent Police Department Policy on the Enforcement of Immigration Laws

Chief Thomas, Officer Williams, and Community Education Coordinator John Pagel attended a meeting with the City of Kent's Diversity Coalition. Chief Thomas presented information on city wide crime statistics and answered many questions related to police and community interactions. One question was whether the Kent Police Department has a policy on the enforcement of immigration laws. As a result of questions and this meeting, we want to provide you with that policy.

Policy on the Enforcement of Immigration Laws

The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for sworn personnel regarding the enforcement of immigration laws. The enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws is primarily the responsibility of the federal government. Accordingly, the Kent Police Department shall not undertake immigration-related investigations and shall not inquire into the immigration status of persons encountered during police operations except as described below. This prohibition does not preclude working with federal immigration officials.

 Inquiries into Immigration Status:

 A person’s right to file a police report, participate in police-community activities, or otherwise benefit from police services is not contingent upon citizenship or immigration status. Consequently, officers shall not question any person about his or her citizenship or immigration status or inform federal immigration authorities of the whereabouts or behavior of any immigrant or foreign visitor, unless that person:

  1. Is physically arrested and not eligible for release on a summons;
  2. Has been convicted of any felony, regardless of whether that felony involved violence;
  3. Is reasonably suspected of involvement in terrorism and/or subversive activities;
  4. Is reasonably suspected of participating in an organized venture to bring or fraudulently assimilate undocumented foreigners into the country;
  5. Is reasonably suspected of participating in criminal street gang activity;
  6. Is involved in a serious public safety incident or situation and it has been determined that there is a potential threat to the public.

 Officers shall not request passports, visas, “green cards,” or travel documents in lieu of, or in addition to, driver’s licenses and similar standard forms of identifications. Such documents shall only be requested when standard forms of identification are unavailable, or when the officer is proceeding under the conditions described above.

Physical Arrest and Booking:

No person shall be physically arrested and booked in order to determine their legal status in the country if they would otherwise have been eligible for release on a summons. Additionally, no other person, including a victim or other person reporting a crime, nor any witness to a crime, shall be questioned regarding their status in this country absent a lawful physical arrest and booking of such person for a crime or one of the other conditions enumerated above.

When any person is physically arrested and will be booked, their country of citizenship should be ascertained as required by the Vienna Convention and entered into the “Citizenship?” data field of the King County Superform. If the person who has been arrested is a foreign national (someone who is not a citizen of the United States), the Vienna Convention is triggered and officers are required to follow procedures for Arrest and Detention of Foreign Nationals (Policy 2.70).  Further inquiries into the arrestee’s immigration status shall only be permitted as provided by this policy. 

As your police department, we want to partner with you to enhance two way communication and get your feedback. If you have any questions or comments on these efforts, please contact Chief Ken Thomas at kthomas@kentwa.gov.