Ken Seuberlich is sworn in as Bothell police chief during a city council meeting on Sept. 3. (Bothell Police Department)

Ken Seuberlich is sworn in as Bothell police chief during a city council meeting on Sept. 3. (Bothell Police Department)

Bothell’s new police chief: ‘Fate wanted me to be here’

Kenneth Seuberlich has been with the department for 25 years. He replaced longtime Chief Carol Cummings.

BOTHELL — Bothell’s new police chief is a familiar face.

Kenneth Seuberlich has been with the department for 25 years, most recently as operations captain. He was sworn in Sept. 3 during the Bothell City Council meeting.

He replaced Carol Cummings, who announced her retirement earlier this summer. She had been in law enforcement for 37 years, and Bothell’s chief since 2011.

Seuberlich said he didn’t expect to step into the top role. 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.

“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.”

As operations captain, Seuberlich oversaw the day-to-day operations of uniformed police. It’s the largest and the most visible division in the department, he said.

Now that he’s chief, Seuberlich will head law enforcement in a city with more than 46,000 people, split between Snohomish and King counties.

Seuberlich began his police career in Ritzville, more than 200 miles east from Bothell. He said his desire to help people drew him toward law enforcement.

But for a long time, Bothell never crossed his mind as a place he would live. As a teen growing up in the Puget Sound area, driving around in his “piece-of-junk” car, he found himself avoiding the city.

He later found connections to the city through his uncle — a Nevada highway patrolman 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 approach. Using data, officers will prioritize the problems that continually affect the community. Decision-making will be pushed down to the officers on the street.

“We’re getting officers out there,” Seuberlich said. “They know their beat and know their community and interact with residents. If we’re not getting information from the community, it’s difficult to do our job effectively.”

This story originally appeared in the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, a sibling paper to the Daily Herald.

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