A message from Acting Police Chief Jim Lawless

Jim Lawless

I wanted to take a few minutes to update you on a few topics that I know are important to our community.

As you are likely aware, since December of 2018 we have tragically had three homicides committed in our city:

    • The Senior Center shooting from December 2018.
    • The senseless murder of the 7-11 clerk in February of this year
    • The tragic Boo Han Market domestic violence incident

All three investigations are a priority to me and the department and they continue to be actively worked by our team of skilled and dedicated detectives, while they also manage new cases that come in daily. These investigations have proven to be complex and are requiring the full use of our resources as well as additional resources from our law enforcement partners. This is all in an effort to present a complete and thorough investigation of each case to the County Prosecutor.

I also recognize that your day to day activities may lead to traffic and pedestrian safety concerns for all who live or visit Edmonds. While retirements and an influx of new officers have impacted our entire department, including our Traffic Unit, we continue to prioritize this community concern. We are utilizing the resources of our entire patrol staff, including our newly selected motorcycle officer, to help educate the public and take enforcement action where appropriate.

Our communities’ expectations of its police department and the relationship between the two is extremely important to us. We know that we are fortunate to have such positive support. In late spring, I launched our Community Engagement Team and they experienced this first hand during their Park Tour this summer. I am committed to our past and on-going efforts in keeping our entire staff trained on topics such as implicit bias, race relations, de-escalation, as well as the myriad of other topics that ensure we maintain our WASPC Accreditation. Over the past few years, we have worked hard to diversify our staff and those efforts are evident when you see those who are serving our community.

Acts of hate, including speech, and the blatant disregard for the human dignity of others is unacceptable in our community. The diversity of our community is something to be celebrated and embraced. Sadly, the current climate within our society is often times one filled with divisiveness and hate; unfortunately our community has seen and experienced this first hand. I unequivocally condemn these acts. It is my desire for all, and my goal personally, to engage with and actively listen to all members of our community when they express feelings, frustrations, opinions and experiences. I ask each of you to join me in that cause.

Thank you and if you need us, just call.

James Lawless
Acting Chief of Police

  1. I’ve noticed that appointing the Finance Director is on the agenda for the next council meeting; that’s good. The Police Chief position has been open since day one of 2020. There are continuous delays naming Jim Lawless as our Police Chief. What’s going on now?

  2. Thanks Chief Lawless for the thoughtful statement on diversity in our community. And thanks for the hard work you and your department do to keep Edmonds safe. (My one humble request: please don’t put up more blinking lights, flags on sticks, and noisy yellow signage when it comes to crossing streets. We Edmonds pedestrians all need to learn the life skill of safely crossing the street… that you look both ways and don’t cross when it’s not safe.)

  3. Thank you Acting Chief Lawless. It is important to the community to have updates such as this. Please thank your officers for thei excellent work during these trying times.

  4. True leadership is revealed in trying times – and Chief, your leadership is apparent. Thank you for the update – and thank you for working toward uniting our community. Grateful for your leadership.

  5. Thank you Chief Lawless. I can only imagine how difficult your and your officers jobs are in these highly charged and polarized social and political times.

    So many people have no real grasp of how the legal system actually works and how it is designed to protect all of our rights based on decisions being made around facts and evidence; not people’s opinions of what is right and what is wrong. The State’s burden of proof is very high for very good reasons.

    It is not easy to be a good law enforcement officer in the best of times. Picking the right people to wear a badge and gun is everything in a free society. When the wrong people are chosen, bad things happen. You are the right man at the right time for us, in my opinion.

  6. A timely and strong message by a strong leader. Over a 45 year legal career I have worked with (not for) ever Edmonds Chief of Police since the late Marlo Foster. All have been leaders with strong moral and ethical grounding. Jim Lawless is cut from the same cloth. It is past time he be confirmed as our Chief of Police.

  7. It has been nearly a year and I ask the Edmonds City Council, why haven’t you confirmed Acting Chief Lawless?! He’s doing the job exceptionally well. His experience/education is impressive and he has clearly demonstrated strong local and regional leadership, a commitment to hiring a diverse police force, and is an excellent, balanced voice for Edmonds! I understand restrictions from COVID, but the recruitment/hiring process should NOT take this long. It’s disrespectful to him, the city, and the entire EPD. Please stop sitting on your hands, City Council, and do the job we elected you to do.

  8. Thank you Acting Chief Lawless for the fine message, leadership, and dedication the EPD provides on a daily basis to the Edmonds community. The time is long past due to confirm.

    Thank you to the city of Edmonds for being proactive and providing blinking lights particularly on the crosswalks at 3rd and Bell. Very dangerous busy intersection with cars and traffic. In my opinion, the lights have made that crossing much safer.

  9. Speaking for myself and, I hope for some others here too, I meant my prior comments to take nothing away from the other candidate for permanent Chief, Officer Pruitt. Based on his bio. and calm, cool and collected responses on the troubled Zoom interview, which I observed in it’s entirety, he is highly qualified too; and I admire him for making the application. At some point, Edmonds will probably have the funding for an Asst. Chief again and Mr. Pruitt should be kept in mind for that post, assuming he doesn’t get the main job this time around.

  10. Thank you for the message Chief Lawless. Your comments are appreciated. The Edmonds Police Department has been doing a great job imho and the priorities appear well placed. Keep up the great work! The community needs and appreciates the Department’s efforts.

  11. How about removing tents and ticketing the trespassers?

    How about hiring tactics based on qualifications instead of how someone looks?

  12. Thank you very much Chief lawless. We really appreciate your communication and dedication to this community.

    This weekend near 5 corners, a pair of prolific mail thieves attempted to murder two EPD officers with vehicular manslaughter. With one officer reportedly being only a foot away from being hit as the van swerved towards him. It is definitely a reminder that EPD officers continually put their lives on the line to protect our own. I have no doubt that the pair would have tried to run over a neighbor confronting them over their crimes, and they might not have been as quick on their feet as the heroes at EPD.

    I fear that this is a start of a larger crime wave headed our way. As Seattle and King County set policies to encourage the increase of crime there, it seems inevitable that some of that increased crime will also spill over into surrounding cities, including our own. I am incredibly thankful that we have the leadership of Chief Lawless and the EPD as a whole to not only focus on protecting our community but put so much effort into seeking dialogue from all areas of our community.

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