He’s just your average Joe. A normal guy. That’s how Redmond’s new police chief, Darrell Lowe, describes himself. He also happens to be the first black chief in the history of the department.
Transitioning to this new role, Lowe’s vision is to make the Redmond Police Department (RPD) the standard other agencies want to replicate. This could include collaborating with the tech industry and an opportunity to be at the forefront of cutting-edge technology.
As of early October, Lowe now calls Redmond home after packing up and moving north from California. Lowe served for 27 years at the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD), filling in various roles and working in the many aspects a municipal police organization can offer.
At SMPD, he’d been in charge of the support services division, managing the back-end of front-line operations. He also led the criminal investigations division. Through his two and a half decades at SMPD, he witnessed the growth and transformation of the city as well as the implementation of the light rail.
“And that really gave me the foundation for this opportunity I have been provided to lead the Redmond Police Department,” Lowe said.
As a result of this rail system in Santa Monica, in a perfect storm of inbound and outbound trains traveling at the same time, emergency response could be delayed up to six minutes. Lowe said one of his biggest accomplishments was changing the boundary of police beats, and the philosophy (so to speak) of the way dispatching was done. No longer were responders dispatched north to south. Instead they traveled east to west, to avoid traveling across train tracks.
Lowe mostly credits his successes to the lessons he learned from leaders before him. He was hired on to the Santa Monica department by former police chief James Butts, the first black police chief in the Santa Monica department’s history. Butts now serves as mayor of Inglewood, California. Lowe also learned from Jacqueline Seabrooks, Santa Monica’s first black female police officer and the state’s first black female police chief.
“They say you stand on the shoulders of others, well I’m standing on some very broad shoulders,” Lowe said. “I consider (these two individuals) to be some of the most phenomenal leaders I’ve had the opportunity to learn from and work for.”
And he realizes that being the first black chief for Redmond will come with its own set of struggles to overcome. He spoke on some of the biggest challenges law enforcement face today: trust, transparency and accountability. In a digital age where information spreads fast, more often news spreads negative police stories, versus the positive, he said.
“You take away the uniform, you take away that, I am still a person of color,” Lowe said. “The public’s trust has been broken in us as a profession as a result of things officers have done…As a result of that, it makes a very challenging job much more challenging.”
Understanding the dynamic, having been with law enforcement for more than two decades, Lowe said what it comes down to is treating everyone with dignity and respect. And that people just want to be heard.
“Long gone is the time where just because an officer shows up and says its so that people are just going to take that and not question it,” he said, adding that officers should do their part in a three-part system of justice (law enforcement, courts, and corrections and rehabilitation), and trust that the other parts will function.
“We do the part of our system to the best of our ability and have to have faith the other parts will work,” Lowe said. “You don’t cut corners. You don’t make things up. You don’t embellish things. Do things the right way for the right reason and the outcome is what the outcome is. Because at the end of the day, you’ve done your part. You’ve done what you raised your right hand and took an oath to do.”