Hello, and thank you for taking the time to read, watch, or listen to our thoughts after the death of George Floyd while in the police custody.
We are the Chiefs of Police in the Valley Cities of King County including the Port of Seattle, Des Moines, Tukwila, Renton, Federal Way, Kent, Auburn, Algona, Pacific and Black Diamond.
Together we are honored to serve a diverse population of nearly 500,000 residents and millions of travelers.
We watched the video of Mr. Floyd’s arrest and death in Minneapolis and, like others, we were shocked and deeply disturbed by what we saw. There are times when enforcing the law leads to confrontations, but those four officers violated the principles, tactics, and policies we have been taught and teach our officers.
We, and the men and women we proudly lead, swore oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Washington and take our duties very seriously.
We condemn without reservation any behavior that violates our oaths or our code of conduct.
Our commitment to improve policing is not new. As members of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC), we agreed to a fundamental principle of public trust adopted in January 2019 – WASPC acknowledges that implicit and institutional bias and discrimination exist in all aspects of society: criminal justice, education, housing, health care, finance, and more. We will work in concert with policy makers and others to make systemic improvements to understand, reduce and control the implicit and institutional biases and barriers that inhibit every person’s success.
We recognize the hurt and anger caused by Mr. Floyd’s death. We pledge to stand with you to provide fair, respectful, and professional services to our communities, so all people receive equal treatment under the law.
We must put actions to this pledge and do more to earn your trust, support your rights and invest in our communities. Racial injustice demands better access to healthcare, housing, education, and jobs. We will urge our city leaders to directly fund community-based programs to lift people up, especially during this time of the COVID crisis.
Finally, we thank our communities for their continued support for the men and women of your police departments and for the jobs they do every day.
We are human and not perfect, but that does not mean we will ever stop trying to be the best we can for you.
Federal Way Police Chief Andy Hwang
Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla
Tukwila Police Chief Bruce Linton
Des Moines Police Chief Ken Thomas
Renton Police Chief Ed VanValey
Auburn Police Chief Daniel O’Neil
Algona Police Chief James Schrimpsher
Pacific Police Chief Stephen Craig Schwartz
Black Diamond Police Chief Jamey Kiblinger
Port of Seattle Chief Michael Villa