The Centralia Police Department hired two new officers to fill a couple of the openings left vacant after the city fired four of its officers in January following their allegedly delayed response to a domestic violence call.
Mitch King and Jason Roberts each read the Police Officer Code of Ethics and took their oaths of office during Tuesday’s Centralia City Council meeting.
Chief Stacy Denham introduced the new officers with glowing words aimed at bolstering the council’s faith in the new hires.
“This is an exciting time as you’ve kind of been with me through some of these trials that we’ve had with hiring and losing officers,” Denham told the councilors Tuesday. “The nice thing is this: What I’ve recognized over the short-term is how … you measure success — that is, success of your organization. How you measure that is you see seasoned officers that have been around for a long time — 15, 20 years — and they are leaving organizations where they were very comfortable and still want to come to your organization.”
That was the case with King and Roberts, Denham said, as each left stable positions at other law enforcement agencies to come work for Centralia.
Denham introduced both officers with a few words about them.
King was born in Seattle and his family moved to the Olympia area when he was about 3 years old. King lives with his family in Rochester on a small farm where he has six chickens, three goats, two bulldogs, two guinea pigs and one bearded dragon. He enjoys surfing, custom cars and making sheet metal art.
“(King) started in law enforcement in 1996 as a community service officer — or CSO, like we have here — and as a reserve officer for the Lacey Police Department,” Denham said. “He worked for one and half years at the Tenino Police Department, one year for the Yelm Police Department and then the last about 18 years for the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.”
In that last position, he served on the SWAT team and later as a detective.
“When you talk about experience and you actually bring somebody in as a lateral with that kind of experience, you can’t measure that,” Denham said. “That’s a lot of money that Thurston County spent training this young man up, and we stole him. I’m happy to say that.”
Roberts was born and raised in the Chehalis area and went to W.F. West High School. He enjoys playing the guitar, snow skiing, hunting, fishing, kayaking and chain saw carving.
“(Roberts) worked for 15 years in the timber-related field in Lewis County. In 2004, he became interested in law enforcement, and he became a corrections officer with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and worked in that field for three years,” Denham said. “(Roberts) was then hired by the Chehalis Police Department in 2007 as a patrol officer. He remained there until he was hired by the Centralia Police Department.”
Denham said both officers “have impeccable records and a really deep knowledge of law enforcement and how to do law enforcement.”