At the end of September, Tukwila’s Chief of Police Bruce Linton will retire from his 26-year career with the Tukwila Police Department.
Linton has served as Police Chief for three years, taking the oath in October, 2017.
The city said in a statement that “Chief Linton is moving on to fulfill a personal promise to give back and serve military veterans and their families.”
Chief Linton joined the ranks of the Tukwila Police Department in August, 1994, and has served the Tukwila community as a patrol officer, bike/community relations officer, narcotics detective, Sergeant, Commander, Deputy Chief, and Chief of Police.
We reached out to Linton, and received this statement:
“I want to be clear that the timing of my retirement is not reflective of the current challenges we face in law enforcement or from pressure created by any legislative body of this city.
“My retirement timing is based on a personal promise to give back and serve, in a meaningful way, the veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much for our nation. I had the privilege to serve with thousands of soldiers for over 36 plus years and have witnessed the hardships and the sacrifices of their service. My next mission is to fulfill my promise by serving our Veterans in a meaningful way and faced with several opportunities, I made the decision to retire.
“In the great words of William Arthur Ward, ‘Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.'”
In January 2007, Chief Linton took a temporary leave to command a Joint Aviation Task Force (Army and Navy) where he and his team of 300 soldiers and sailors, with a compliment of 22 aircraft (rotary and fixed-winged), conducted battle-field circulation, senior leader air-movement and medical evacuation operations in Kuwait and Southern Iraq. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.
While as Deputy Chief, Chief Linton served as the project manager that oversaw the initial design and review stages of the new Tukwila Justice Center. Upon becoming Chief in 2017, Chief Linton drew upon his experience in aviation and established the Tukwila Police Department’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Due to the hard work and effort of Chief Linton, the Tukwila UAS program has become a national model and Chief Linton is widely regarded as a national expert on policy, procedure, and application of UAS programs in law enforcement.
Chief Linton continued departmental implementation of 21st Century Policing pillars that include focusing on issues such as Building Trust and Legitimacy, Community Policing and Crime Reduction, and Officer Training and Education.
The City will initiate a public process in October to hear from the Tukwila community about the characteristics desired in the next Tukwila Police Chief. City representatives will reach out to different community groups such as the Equity and Social Justice Commission, Community-Oriented Policing Citizen Advisory Board, faith leaders, young people and more. The City will use virtual public listening sessions due to the pandemic. After this listening process, the City will search for a new Chief, with the expectation of making a decision toward the end of the first quarter.
“The City of Tukwila would like to thank Chief Linton for 26-years of service and dedication to the community and for his support of the men and women of the Tukwila Police Department.”
TUKWILA CITY COUNCIL STATEMENT
On Sept. 15, 2020, the Tukwila City Council released a letter to Mayor Allan Ekberg about Linton’s replacement, “encouraging, imploring, and asking of you, to seize the opportunity to make that innovative hire that will not only meet the needs of Tukwila today, but be a part of the racial reconciliation our community seeks. Please factor in the values set forth in the City’s Equity Policy, and consider inviting the Equity and Social Justice Commission to participate by providing input into the hiring criteria. Your hiring decision will have a long reaching effect into the future of Tukwila.”
The council asks Ekberg “to consider a hire that will have a positive impact for generations to come. Tukwila is at a crossroads, and your influence on the hiring decision will resonate for years. Please do the work necessary to make the right decision in hiring our next Chief of Police.”
Here’s the full text of the council’s letter:
September 15, 2020
Mayor Allan Ekberg
6200 Southcenter Blvd
Tukwila, WA 98188
Re: Police Chief Search Dear Mayor Ekberg:
We are writing this letter to provide you with the City Council’s thoughts as you seek a replacement for Chief Linton.
As you know, we are living in challenging times. There is a strong desire for equity, transparency, and accountability for all levels of public service, including law enforcement.
While we know that the Tukwila Police Department has been forward thinking and has led the way for innovative policing, we cannot overstate the need to be visionary at this time of transition. We are confident that you will search for a visionary leader who can and will embrace where we are headed as a community – unburdening and reimagining public safety – but that is not our only interest. Mayor Ekberg, we are encouraging, imploring, and asking of you, to seize the opportunity to make that innovative hire that will not only meet the needs of Tukwila today, but be a part of the racial reconciliation our community seeks. Please factor in the values set forth in the City’s Equity Policy, and consider inviting the Equity and Social Justice Commission to participate by providing input into the hiring criteria. Your hiring decision will have a long reaching effect into the future of Tukwila.
We understand as members of the Legislative branch, hiring of personnel is outside our scope of work, but it is within yours. Therefore, we offer our support by urging you to consider a hire that will have a positive impact for generations to come. Tukwila is at a crossroads, and your influence on the hiring decision will resonate for years. Please do the work necessary to make the right decision in hiring our next Chief of Police.
Tukwila City Council