Kenneth Seuberlich, who has been with the Bothell Police Department (BPD) for 25 years, is the new police chief — replacing former Police Chief Carol Cummings, who stepped into the role in January 2011.
He was sworn in during a Bothell City Council meeting on Sept. 3.
Seuberlich said he never planned on stepping into the role of police chief. He had worked closely alongside Cummings and deputy chief Denise Nielsen for the better part of eight years. They approached him a while back to gauge his interest in the role.
“I was thinking it was years out,” Seuberlich said. “I didn’t anticipate it would happen so soon but…I feel comfortable with the agency…it’s a great department. When the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it.”
Bothell city manager Jennifer Phillips ultimately made the determination, Seuberlich said.
Most recently, Seuberlich acted as operations captain, overseeing uniformed patrol. In this role, he was responsible for day-to-day operations of uniformed police response. It’s the largest division in the department and the most visible, he said.
The new chief first started his police career in Ritzville, on the eastern side of the state. It was his draw to helping people that pulled Seuberlich toward a career in law enforcement. But he didn’t anticipate landing in Bothell. In fact, as a teen growing up in the Puget Sound he found himself avoiding the city in his “piece-of-junk car.”
He later found connections to the city through his uncle — a Nevada highway patrol man he admired growing up — who was from the area. And through his uncle, he discovered he had ties to Harold “Pop” Keeney — a member of the city’s founding family.
“Fate wanted me to be here, so it’s a neat little story to have,” he said.
In his new role, Seuberlich has plans of moving the department toward a more problem-based policing platform. Using data gathered both internally and from outside the department, officers will prioritize the problems continually affecting the community. Decision making will be pushed down to the officers on the street.
“We’re getting officers out there. They know their beat and know their community and interact with residents,” Seuberlich said. “If we’re not getting information from the community, it’s difficult to do our job effectively.”
And the passed Safe & Secure Bothell Levy and Bond (passed in 2018) will aid in a new community crime reduction team.
“That is going to make a huge impact on our ability to put together problem-based policing,” Seuberlich said. “Before we would triage calls as they came in.”