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Kent police work to build strong community connections: 'We want to go the extra mile'

The Kent Police Department hosts several events throughout the year so community members can connect with police officers more regularly.

KENT, Wash. — As police and law enforcement officers continue to face intense scrutiny and mistrust, the Kent Police Department (KPD) chief said they are doing everything they can to strengthen community ties.

Chief Rafael Padilla said this effort has been going on in Kent for years, but now, more than ever before, efforts are increasing.

"Our focus has been to remember why we do the job," said Padilla. "To move past what we are seeing and hearing and just going back and redoubling our efforts just to show everybody at every opportunity that we are a caring, compassionate law enforcement."

Kent police host several events throughout the year including "Shop with a Cop" for kids during the holiday season and "Coffee with the Chief," so community members can connect with police officers more regularly.

"The community members get to see a different perspective, right? They get to see a human being," said Padilla.

The KPD is also looking into reaching different groups in the community with potential events like "Hops with Cops" at local breweries or "Barbers and Badges" to connect with local barbershops.

"We want to go the extra mile to show our community that we're not what they are seeing on the national news, that we do love our community and we are caretakers, and we want to be a part of the community," said Padilla.