An update on police strategies from Des Moines Police Chief Ken Thomas

On Wednesday, May 8, 2019, Des Moines Police Chief Ken Thomas released the following statement:

I would like to take a moment to update you on the strategy and tactics we are deploying at the police department to keep our community safe. There has been much progress over the past year to address crime and quality of life issues. Our incredible staff are committed to relentlessly fighting crime with trust and care. Our focus has been on four primary areas, Partnerships, Technology, Staffing and Professionalism.

We have partnered with the U. S. Marshal’s Office in getting our two street crimes detectives deputized as Federal Agents. One of our detectives has been assigned to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Violent Crime Task Force to focus of violent gun crimes in South King County. The Marshal’s Agents, ATF Violent Crimes Task Force and King County Gang Unit will be operating out of our Redondo Square Substation. This will be a primary hub for investigators to work and share information on violent criminals in South King County and safely take them into custody. Opening of this substation would not have been possible without the financial support of the City Council, City Manager, U.S. Marshal and ATF. This substation will also provide workspace for our uniformed patrol officers assigned to the South side of our city.

The Redondo Substation has not been fully completed and it is already showing positive results. You may have seen our Facebook post about Detective Oak doing paperwork at the substation when he heard the report of a theft occurring in the parking lot. He exited the substation and quickly located the suspect and recovered two stolen purses. The suspect was booked into the SCORE Jail and the victims were able to get their property back.

We have been in discussion with the Highline School District and they have agreed to fund an additional School Resource Officer for the temporary Highline High School at the Olympic site on North Hill. That will assist with keeping the school and nearby neighborhoods well patrolled and safe.

The use of technology is enhancing the effectiveness of our operations. We have a Detective assigned full time to conducting crime analysis and technology forensics. The crime analysis reports serve to educate our officers when and where crime is occurring and provides opportunities to conduct directed patrols. Wanted suspects and details of their crimes are provided to assist with quickly and safely getting them into custody. We have already utilized our forensic tools to solve major crimes that have occurred over the past year. The Spillman Records Management System used by our officers has been upgraded and additional training is in progress. This will allow our officers and records staff to streamline the reporting process and quickly obtain intelligence information to solve crimes. We have initiated a pilot POD Camera program at the Redondo city parking lot, pier and boardwalk. These cameras can be viewed in real-time by officers on their cell phones when in other parts of the city. It allows us to keep an eye on activity in that part of our community. We also entered into an Agreement with Highline College for access to space in the MaST Center on Redondo Beach Drive at no cost. This space will be utilized for both foot and bike patrols during summer months and space for report writing and briefings. This will also provide high visibility and will help to reduce response times.

Technology is used in a majority of criminal investigations especially when the suspect has not been identified. Just last week our detectives were out canvassing the neighborhood and collecting video around the location of a Burglary and Sexual Assault of a Barista. After reviewing the video, Detectives Montgomery and Tschida observed the suspect at a nearby bus stop. The suspect was arrested and taken to the station for an interview. He provided a full confession to the crimes and was booked on felony charges.

We are proud to let you know that our department is fully staffed. In addition, the City Council and City Manager have authorized us to hire two additional officers to account for retirements or attrition. This has allowed us to fully staff our patrol squads and detectives as well as partner with regional task forces. We have listened to your concerns about speeding vehicles and other traffic complaints. Starting next week Officer Shawn O’Flaherty will be assigned as a traffic safety officer. He will be responsible for working traffic complaint zones and investigating collisions. As many of you already know, to assist with crime fighting and catching bad guys, we have added a generalist K9. Officer Boehmer and K9 Daric are trained up and started patrolling our streets on May 1st.

A professional police department communicates and earns the trust of their community. Our Des Moines Police Officers work hard to build and earn your trust every day. One way we do this is by performing our duties using best practices in law enforcement. Later this month, we will receive our award and recognition of being re-accredited through the Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chief’s. Less than 25% of police departments in the state have reached this level of professionalism. In addition, we are maximizing the effectiveness of our Code Enforcement Officer, Kory Batterman. He has identified the top 5 worst properties in the city and has focused his efforts to clean them up. In one recent case, on North Hill, the property owners were not cooperative. Just last week, he issued approximately $30,000 worth of code violation infractions to these property owners.

Effective partnerships, technology enhancements, full and specialized staffing and being a professional police department has resulted in crime trending down in Des Moines. We are committed to working hard to keeping our community safe by working smarter to address crime and quality of life issues. It is an honor for our Des Moines Police staff to serve our city by fighting crime effectively and building trust and care.

– Ken Thomas
Police Chief
Des Moines Police Department
[email protected]


One Response to “An update on police strategies from Des Moines Police Chief Ken Thomas”
  1. Mikey says:

    this is great and all but it means nothing if we dont add more cops. Saying were full staffed when crime is so bad is stupid.

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