The city of Federal Way has hired two new police officers and plans to add a third by Aug. 16, bringing the total count to 127 of the city’s 131 budgeted officer positions.
After Federal Way’s unprecedented three murders in 48 hours in May, many community members criticized the Federal Way Police Department for not operating at full staff capacity. In response to the active homicide investigations, the police department shifted five patrol officers to the detective unit and began conducting entry-level interviews.
Donovan Heavener and James McCrary started on Aug. 1.
Heavener, who will work for the department as a police officer, has more than 22 years of experience in law enforcement. He worked for the Federal Way Police Department from 1996 to 2012 before relocating to Wisconsin and working for the North Fond Du Lac Police Department. Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell said Heavener has attended “numerous trainings and has extensive certifications, awards and commendations.”
McCrary was hired to fill a recruit police officer position. McCrary worked in sales for Vivint Smart Home Security Systems in Utah for eight years and was employed by Stephenson Surveying in Florida before that. He studied aviation science at Utah Valley University for three years and is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Gary Kopis, the third officer who will start on Aug. 16, is a “lateral experienced police officer” from the Honolulu Police Department. Ferrell said he has eight years of law enforcement experience, mostly in the patrol division.
In June, Federal Way Police Chief Andy Hwang said filling entry-level positions takes longer because there’s a waiting list for the police academy. That list can take up to five months for an applicant to get through, and getting hired is followed by four to five months of training.
Ferrell said the three police officers will be formally introduced at the Sept. 6 Federal Way City Council meeting.
“In addition to these three new officers, we anticipate a fourth starting in October and that officer will be introduced at a later meeting,” Ferrell said in an email.
For information on the Federal Way Police Department, visit www.ci.federal-way.wa.us/police.