Deputy Chief Ken Roske named new Pasco police chief

Pasco City Manager Dave Zabell has named current Deputy Chief Ken Roske as the new Pasco police chief.

This selection is the first time in more than half a century that an internal candidate has been named police chief for the department. It comes after a months-long search that drew nearly 20 candidates from across the nation.

“We have to make sure that these programs and our officers are ready for the challenges going forward,” said Chief-select Ken Roske. “Combating crime and addressing quality of life and disorder in the communities and making sure we’re staying up on those kind of things. Those are just some of the immediate challenges.”

He said one of the focuses of his position will be the population increase expected in the next 20 years.

“There will be some growth going forward, but that’s not immediate,” Roske said. “It goes with the growth of the population, so as we start pushing 75,000 residents in town, we feel comfortable at our 80-82 commissioned officers right now.”

Deputy Chief Roske has a 33-year career in law enforcement experience. He began his career as a Pasco police officer in 1986. Roske was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1998, captain in 2004 and deputy chief in 2017. Outside of the department, Roske has served in several key leadership positions within his profession including seven years as Tri-Cities Regional SWAT Incident Commander, State President of Fraternal Order of Police and Chair of the Columbia Basin College Law Enforcement Advisory Committee.

Roske holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Management and a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership, both from the Union Institute & University. Roske is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

“The two top candidates, Ken Roske, and Sunnyside Chief Al Escalera underwent an extensive background process, which confirmed each is a distinguished law enforcement professional with truly remarkable careers, making a final decision challenging,” said City Manager Dave Zabell.

The City underwent a thorough and deliberative process in selecting its chief, enlisting the assistance of the Prothman Company, an executive recruitment company. Additionally, the process included interview panels with several community members, third party background checks by Public Safety Testing and multiple interviews between the City Manager and the finalists and others.

Roske will be formally sworn in at the Pasco City Council meeting on Monday, Oct.7.

Former Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger retired in April.