Des Moines new police chief listens to residents

By Krista Gaines - Staff Reporter

Des Moines residents welcomed their new chief of police at the City Council meeting last Thursday after creating a new position for the former police chief.

Former Kent Chief of Police Ken Thomas, was recently hired as Des Moines' new police chief. He held the position in Kent for seven years prior to his resignation; though, he said he has worked in law enforcement for 30 years. 

Former Des Moines Chief of Police George Delgado was given the new position of Emergency Management director.

 "Opportunity came to us to bring Ken Thomas, former police chief in Kent to Des Moines. It worked out in the skill set that Ken has, and the skills set that George has. It was an opportunity to kind of align the stars and accomplish two things at one time," City Manager Michael Matthias said at the meeting on May 24.

Matthias said he's heard a lot from citizens about the need for greater emergency preparedness.

"We've heard a lot of comments about the well-being of our families and children. One of the things we always have to keep in mind is perhaps the greatest service we can have for our children is to be prepared for emergencies. Make sure we have, in place, the best plan possible to address emergency management preparedness and execution," Matthias said. 

Matthias said Delgado not only has the necessary skills, but he works well with the community. 

"George has skills in that area and great skills in the community, working with external agencies," Matthias said. 

"We are really pleased for him to have that position. We took the assistant police position that was funded in our budget for 2019 for this particular position."

Delgado was not present at the council meeting.

Chief Thomas was sworn in and introduced himself with a speech. 

"As your new police chief, a couple of the areas I think are important for me to hit on: No. 1, our job as the Police Department is to keep you safe. Keeping our community safe is really the reason we exist. That is a top priority of us," he said. 

"Getting some officers hired and getting our staffing up to the appropriate level is a top priority of us. We are going to make that a strong emphasis as we move forward," Chief Thomas said. "Finally, the quality of life. The Police Department is going to partner with the rest of the divisions and departments in the city to ensure that the quality of life in our community is the best that it can possibly be."

 "I think we can do some really great stuff," Chief Thomas said. 

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