The Tukwila Police Department’s deputy chief, Rick Mitchell, has retired.
Don’t worry though, the department’s new deputy chief knows what he’s doing.
Eric Drever began his duties as deputy chief Sept. 1. He has been working for the Tukwila Police Department for 24 years, he said.
He said he was one of the department’s commanders and facilities liaison.
Drever said he has know for a couple months now that he was going to be the new deputy chief after Mitchell, so he wasn’t just thrown into the position.
“We knew that he (Mitchell) was going to retire, we knew a couple months out, so we were able to transition me into several of his responsibilities over the last two months,” Drever said. “It was actually quite an easy transition just because I was able to take it on piece by piece instead of all of a sudden one day I’m sitting in the role. I’ve gotten an opportunity to adjust to it.”
On top of being able to transition one step at a time, Drever said having a reliable police force has helped a lot as well.
“We’ve got topnotch people working here and they need a position like this to help with some big decisions, but they are self-sufficient and are highly trained and capable of doing the job with minimal supervision so it makes for an easy transition,” he said.
He also commented on the size of the department, in a positive way.
He said the Tukwila Police Department has the type of issues and calls that you would expect in a large city, like Seattle, but the department is small enough that each officer and personnel person know each other.
“We’re very close. It makes for the perfect sized police department,” Drever said.
Drever said as deputy chief of a decent sized department, he hopes to get back in touch with all the members of the police department. He said due to special assignments that were given to him previously, he was not able to do the day-to-day operations.
“It’s nice to be back in the department and be able to actually be able to see the people I work with,” he said.
The only improvements Drever said he would try to make are to help improve recruitment in the department.
He explained that the lack of recruitment is not the fault of the former deputy chief, or of the current chief, it just the environment of law enforcement right now.
“We just don’t have the same numbers of people applying for police officer positions as we have had in the past. So for me, I’m looking forward to being able to tackle that problem,” he said.
Drever said he wouldn’t even think about moving to a different department. He said he plans to retire with the Tukwila Police Department.
“I made a commitment when I hired on here and I love what the city represents with its diversity and it just never crossed my mind to go anywhere else,” he said. “The people that I enjoy working with work here, the people I enjoy serving live here. I mean quite honestly, going anywhere else for law enforcement hasn’t crossed my mind. There was a time back about 20 years or so ago when I first became an officer I explored the possibility of going federally, but ultimately, the wife and I decided we wanted to stay here and I haven’t looked back since and this is where I wanted to work.”