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Auburn Police Chief Kelly announces retirement

Auburn Police Chief Jim Kelly on Tuesday announced his retirement from the Auburn Police Department.

Kelly, who has been with Auburn for 34 years, will become the Deputy Director of the South Correctional Entity (SCORE) regional jail. His retirement will become effective on Sept. 30.

“I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of such a significant project,” Kelly said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to help build something from the ground up and will serve as a national model on how communities can work together to save money and serve the greatest good.”

Kelly will begin his new position on Oct. 1. The jail is slated to open in September 2011.

“We are excited to have Jim on board,” said Penny Bartley, executive director of SCORE. “Auburn and Renton have been involved from the beginning and it will be great to have a significant owner represented that is familiar with staff and our mission to provide these services to our member cities. He will play a vital role in transitioning both the Auburn and Renton Jails to SCORE.”

Kelly began his law enforcement career with the Ellensburg Police Department in 1976. He transferred to the Auburn Police Department in 1979. Before his promotion to sergeant in 1990, he worked as a patrol officer, as K-9 officer for seven years and as a property crimes detective. As sergeant, he was assigned to the special investigations unit, patrol and major crimes investigations. In 1996, he was promoted to lieutenant in charge of support services. In December of that year the lieutenant position was reclassified as commander and he was reassigned to patrol. He became the assistant chief of police in March 1999 and then chief in October of 1999.

“I am delighted to see the appointment of Chief Kelly to the Deputy Director of SCORE,” said Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis. “He has provided excellent service to our citizens as our chief. He will continue that same level of service to our citizens in his new position.”

Kelly received his associates degree in criminal justice from Tacoma Community College and his bachelors degree from Columbia Southern University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Northwest Command College. He is a member of the Auburn Rotary, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The cities of Auburn, Burien, Des Moines, Federal Way, Renton, SeaTac, and Tukwila have partnered to build and operate an 822-bed misdemeanant jail to serve their collective needs. Last year, the cities formed SCORE to accomplish this task. SCORE hopes to have the new jail ready to open in mid-2011 and use it to house misdemeanor offenders.

The cities need the jail space because King County will no longer provide misdemeanant jail beds. In 2006, the cities hired the consulting firm of Ricci-Greene to conduct a study and develop long-range planning options for jail capacity. The study showed that the South King County cities would need access to 700 additional jail beds by 2026. The study also indicated that the cities would significantly reduce their costs if they joined together to build and operate a jail. The facility will be located in the city of Des Moines.

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