FW City Council roundup: Six police officers promoted

Also: Fireworks ban, other updates.

Not all police promotions include a story worthy of laughter, but this week’s promotions got a response from the crowd at Federal Way City Council meeting July 2.

Federal Way Police Chief Andy Hwang said of newly promoted Deputy Chief Casey Jones: “On the first day our agency took over police services in October 1996, Casey was the first to make a traffic stop, issue a ticket, and make an arrest. Casey was also the first Federal Way officer to be in a traffic collision when a driver from California slid into his patrol vehicle during a snowstorm.”

On a more serious note, Hwang celebrated Jones’ accomplishments throughout his 30-year career.

“As a commander, Casey has a proven record of solving problems raised by community stakeholders and leading by example so that other police supervisors and staff understand the importance of communication,” he said.

The chief also noted Jones’ work on the Valley SWAT team and recognized that he has played “a pivotal role in selecting our CAD system, spearheading initiatives for new police substations, and successfully negotiating contracts and interlocal agreements, including a significant partnership with the Humane Society and Federal Way Public Schools.”

Lieutenant Michael Coffey was promoted to the rank of commander after serving as an officer for over 18 years. During that time, his many accomplishments include award as Detective of the Year in 2017 and 2018. He also received the Police Chief’s Commendation in 2018 for his “tireless and exceptional work to bring closure and arrests to four murders that occurred in the Federal Way community in 2016, three of which occurred within 72 hours.”

Coffey has worked as a patrol officer, detective, Major Crime Scene Team member, and Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC) instructor for the past 12 years.

Officer Joshua McConnell was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Chief Hwang celebrated his broad experience, including working as a “patrol officer, a Special Operations Unit (SOU) member, a School Resource Officer (SRO), an Acting Patrol Lieutenant, and the Force Training Unit as a Firearms Instructor. Josh has also had collatorial assignments in specialty units, such as the Civil Disturbance Unit and the Valley SWAT Team.”

Officer Blake Losvar, Officer Zachariah Williams and Officer Chad Smith were all promoted to corporal.

Losvar is part of the Special Operations Unit and has “developed and maintained a solid working relationship with business owners and managers throughout the city” and “outreach programs and community members.”

Williams is a Field Training Officer and received recognition for the most felony arrests by a patrol officer in 2023.

Smith has served as “a member of the Valley Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT), Valley Civil Disturbance Unit (VCDU), Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) Instructor, and as a Field Training Officer (FTO).”

Fireworks are banned in FW

“As someone who has been terrified three times that I was going to lose my house…I would really encourage you to not use fireworks,” Councilmember Susan Honda said.

Fireworks have been illegal in Federal Way for 30 years and the fine is $615.

Chief Hwang shared that the number one goal of law enforcement is voluntary compliance with the law.

“We don’t want to have to cite people, that’s a huge fine,” said Mayor Jim Ferrell. “We’ve lost houses because of cedar shake roofs. … a bottle rocket can take down a house.”

If Federal Way community members see fireworks within the city or knows of repeat offenders from previous years, they are encouraged to call the non-emergency police dispatch line at 253-835-2121.

More updates

• The council discussed and approved an application for a grant for extreme weather response for emergency shelter. In extreme heat or cold or during high levels of harmful air quality, the city typically partners with local nonprofit FUSION to open up shelters. The budget currently allocates up to $15,000 annually. The grant is an opportunity for the city to get reimbursed for up to $350,000 of funds spent on eligible costs like “operating costs, transportation costs and staffing costs” incurred in the next year, according to Layela Wilson, Human Services Coordinator for Federal Way.

• The city council also approved payment of a $34,489 bonus for the company managing the Performing Arts and Event Center (PAEC) as per their contract due to their “commitment to excellence and successful operational management.” The bonus is called an incentive fee within the contract and is calculated according to the contract by several qualitative and quantitative metrics that focus around saving the city money overall. The money is paid out of the budget savings from this year in the Performing Arts and Event Center Fund from the city’s General Fund.