The Tri-Cities better be on good behavior this week, with the state’s top law enforcement officers in town for their spring conference.
About 450 people are expected to gather Monday through Thursday in Kennewick for the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.
That number includes Washington’s almost 300 chiefs and 39 sheriffs.
And on Wednesday night, after two full days of training and networking, attendees will see the host city’s top cop – police Chief Ken Hohenberg – installed as president for the next year.
“It truly is pretty cool, especially at this point in my career, to be in this position and help lead the organization,” he told the Herald. “We have great chiefs and sheriffs across the state. … When you need something, you just pick up the phone and get a hold of them. That’s the power and strength of WASPC.”
Hohenberg will be the Mid-Columbia’s first chief to lead the state association.
Former Benton County Sheriff Pete Harrison was president in WASPC’s second year, 1963-64, and former Franklin County Sheriff Richard Lathim held the position in 2007-08.
The conference agenda has sessions on fingerprinting at arrest, “understanding perceptions and bias,” working with advocacy groups in jail, turning adversaries into allies and “The New Face of Terrorism.”
“Obviously, there are a lot of issues going on across the country, especially when it involves departments being connected to their community and having community trust,” Hohenberg said.
Hohenberg, who will replace Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury, said it takes a commitment to be on the association’s executive board and take on the role of president. He said he is fortunate to have good command staff, and the support of Kennewick City Manager Marie Mosley and city council members.
When Lathim was president, he encouraged Hohenberg to get involved as an associate member and appointed him to the executive board.
Hohenberg said it is his turn to pay it forward and try to groom someone with a Tri-City’s law enforcement agency to take on a WASPC leadership role.
This is the fourth time the conference has been in Kennewick since Hohenberg became chief 13 years ago. However, this may be the last.
The association was scheduled to return in two years, but the board had to cancel the contract and rebook in Spokane.
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