After 25 years of service in the Chillicothe Police Department, Chief Keith Washburn retires May 22nd, 2020.
Washburn joined the CPD in May of 1995. He became interim Chief in 2014 and sworn in to the position the following spring.
The Chief sat down with Litter Media (see the interview below) to discuss his time as an officer and to look back at his time in office, from the department drawing national attention investigating Chillicothe’s missing women, drug addiction and to the creation of the K-9 Unit.
In 2018, Washburn earned his law degree and beginning May 26th, he’ll be starting a new position, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Jackson County.
Washburn says he’s witnessed many changes over during his career. “When I first joined in ’95, the drug of choice was crack cocaine. With crack cocaine, you had some higher levels of violent crime, but the key to a road officer that I look at, if I stopped a guy and I’m looking for crack and I missed it, I’m going to get him later. With this heroine and fentanyl, if I stop a guy and I miss that, there’s a good possibility that he could die from the drugs that are in his pocket. That’s one of the big differences.”
Another was in the 90s, there were a lot of bar fights, almost like in the movies, but he said those have fortunately run their course over the years.
He also noted the the criminal justice sentence reform across the United States is still evolving.
“In 1995 for example, a second offense theft was a felony and the person went to prison. Now there’s no second offense theft and the threshold wen from $500 to $1,000 to make it a felony. What we’re not seeing is rehabilitation. It’s more punishment and retribution when it comes to the criminal justice system. If you have a person whose stealing, there’s an underlying reason he’s out there committing that theft crime. If you can fix that problem, then you’re gonna stop a theft. I think that’s where we’re lacking in the criminal justice system is looking at that underlying problem and treating that whether it’s mental health, addiction, whatever that reason is. I think we’re lacking that.”
Washburn said Captain Larry Bamfield will be acting-Chief until a successor is named.