In the 26 years she has served at the Bonney Lake Police Department, Chief Dana Powers has watched the city and department grow and left her mark on both.
“We’ve had so much growth at the department, at the city, we’ve gone from a small, 12-member department to 29 commissioned officers and have six civilian [officers],” Powers said in a phone interview. “We’ve grown up quite a bit since I’ve been here.”
Chief Powers had an unorthodox entry into law enforcement. After she graduated with a degree in PR Communications, Powers pursued journalism, not planning to work in law enforcement.
At the time, her fiancé and brother were both pursuing law enforcement as a career and she decided to try it out.
“What I liked about it is that there is so many different things you can do within a Police Department and with my personality, wanting to do so many different things and stay energized, the police department was a good fit. Then Tacoma took a chance on me, and then so did Bonney Lake.”
Powers grew up in Bonney Lake and was excited to work in her community and give back when she was hired by the Bonney Lake Police Department on June 16, 1992.
As an officer at the department, Powers started the Marine Services Unit with two other officers and worked to make it what it is today. Because of a State Parks grant, the department can now have a boat patrolling Lake Tapps on the weekends.
During her time at the department, she has seen the creation, success, and growth of the water safety program, the multi-agency crime response team, and the metro collision team. Partnerships have been formed with other agencies, creating the Tahoma Drug task force and the Auto Theft task force, which involve at least 16 different agencies.
The department has also worked to ensure that Bonney Lake remained a safe community.
“We’ve kept the crime rate low, it’s still more of a property crime type of area versus a person crime,” Powers said.
Bonney Lake has a violent crime rate of 1.48 per every 1,000 residents (with a population of around 20,000), compared to Washington’s general rate of 3.02 violent crimes per 1,000 residents in 2016. The city also has a property crime rate of 27.72 crimes per every 1,000 residents, compared to Washington’s 34.94 property crimes per 1,000 people in 2016. Bonney Lake is listed as one of the safest cities in Washington by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.
Powers has especially enjoyed working with the community for the National Night Out event and the “Chief for a Day” program.
“Having the kiddos that are having some serious health issues and them being part of our department and being part of something that isn’t just hospitals and rough times, that is an amazing program that I love being part of,” Powers said.
Powers has found working in Bonney Lake different than the other areas she’s worked in because of the strong sense of community and small town feel.
“We still have that small town feel but we are definitely growing,” she said. “We’re able to have one-on-one contact with the citizens… I like that when somebody calls or has an issue they can email or talk to the mayor or myself directly.”
Powers has also made an impact on the community outside of her work at the department.
She has been coaching the Sumner High School swim team since 2009. She has sought to give her athletes individual attention and encourage them to try harder and push past the limits they place on themselves. Although she is retiring from the police department, she plans to continue coaching.
Once she retires on June 16, Powers plans to work a little and spend more time pursuing her hobbies and being active.
“I’m going to keep working on my photography business and work a little bit with a high-end security company, so just a little bit of work, but more play,” she said. “I plan to snow ski, waterski, ride mopeds, have bonfires, camp, and golf more.”
Powers is confident that the new Police Chief, Bryan Jeter, will continue the work that she has done for the department and lead it well. Jeter was the Bonney Lake police chief before Powers, and has just retired as Police Chief of the Puyallup Police Department after five and a half years.
“He’s been a strong colleague of mine for several years, someone that I’ve totally respected,” Powers said. “I know how much passion he has for law enforcement and for him to come home and finish out his career in Bonney Lake and be with his family, I think it’s the best of both worlds. I leave without having to worry about what’s happening at the department. It really worked out for the best for everyone.”