Founding members of the Federal Way Police Department are soon gathering to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the agency’s inception.
“We all sort of embarked on an adventure together 25 years ago and now we can come back together and see where people ended up,” said Ian Canaan, one of the department’s founding members who served from 1996 to 2002.
Dozens of founding members and employees are attending the reunion celebration on Aug. 27 at Canaan’s property in Carbonado, Washington.
A few attempts were made to host a reunion five years ago for the 20th anniversary, but nothing ever came to fruition.
In the five years since, some have left law enforcement entirely, while some have retired and some have died.
Lt. Michael Boutte, a founding member of FWPD and Mississippi sheriff’s deputy, was killed in the line of duty while responding to a call on Feb. 1.
“There maybe was a bit of angst over that,” Canaan said. “It made people think, ‘Nobody is getting any younger, let’s try to do this.’”
Prior to 1996, Federal Way’s policing was handled by the King County Sheriff’s Office, which was called the King County Police Department at the time.
In August 1996, the Federal Way agency began to take form. A slow transition the following month shifted responsibility from King County to Federal Way officers. Federal Way Police took over full policing operations Oct. 15, 1996.
The first employees were a mix of expertise from 37 different police agencies in 18 states, according to Mirror archives.
“It was kind of fun to be a part of a brand new organization with people from all over,” Canaan said. “When you bring the culture of 30 different states into one department … Putting all those people into the same pot and expecting them to deliver law enforcement, everybody had a different idea of how that was to be done.”
The range of perspectives brought endless possibility for solutions and new ways to provide public safety, he said.
“Federal Way doesn’t disappoint when it comes to police work,” he said. “There’s a lot of it to be done.”