Discover Mukilteo had the honor to speak with Mukilteo Police Chief Cheol Kang who happens to be a retired Naval Reservist, college professor, board member, and history buff. He talks to us about time management, teaching, his favorite books, his passion, and more.
DM: You have a long history of public service; how did you get started?
CK: I started my military career at the Air Force Academy. I spent two years there, transferred to Seattle University, and finished college through the Navy ROTC program. I was commissioned in the Navy and was fortunate to return to the Pacific Northwest and get stationed at Whidbey Island. Wanting to continue my public service locally, I tested to become a police officer when I left the active duty Navy. Mukilteo was quick to hire me; I’ve been here for 19 years.
DM: What made you decide to teach at Everett Community College?
CK: I love being able to pass along my knowledge and experience to students who are interested in a career in the criminal justice profession. I taught criminal law for our state police academy and was able to create a particular criminal law curriculum for the students at EVCC.
DM: It seems like you wear many hats: police chief, college professor, Naval Reserves, and Board member as well as father. How do you balance it all?
CK: Time management. I plan out my schedule to ensure that the assignment, task, or person in front of me gets 100% of my attention. Once I’m finished, I work on transitioning to the next project. I retired from the Navy Reserves two years ago, which has given me back a lot of my spare time that rightfully goes to my family.
DM: Is there an achievement or contribution you are most proud of, and why?
CK: I’m so proud of the team we’ve created here at the Mukilteo Police Department. The most crucial asset in any organization is its people. We have a fantastic group of professionals who love what they do and are passionate about helping people. It has been my priority to ensure we hire good, quality people and provide them with the tools and training they need to be successful in a dynamic and often changing environment.
DM: What is your favorite place in Mukilteo to visit and why?
CK: That would be the beach (when the tide is out) at Edgewater Park, walking towards the new Mukilteo Ferry terminal. We are blessed to have a clean, beautiful shoreline with amazing views everywhere.
DM: Do you have a favorite book, website, or podcast, and why?
CK: C.S. Forester’s series about Horatio Hornblower. This is a fictional 11-book series about an officer in the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. I appreciate this book series as it has many great examples of leadership that have helped me with my leadership development.
DM: If you could have dinner with someone (alive or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why?
CK: President Theodore Roosevelt. While I like to steer away from politics, I truly appreciate how much of a renaissance man he was at his time. Overcoming chronic illness as a child, he served as a military officer, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Police Commissioner, and avid conservationist who created the national park system.
DM: What do you think surprises people about you?
CK: In my personal life, I just like to blend in with the crowd and prefer not to have the spotlight on me.
DM: What are the biggest challenges you face as police chief?
CK: This has consistently been staffing. Even more so now, with every law enforcement agency having staffing shortages, we need to be innovative in our recruiting efforts. Yet, we still want to ensure that each person we bring onboard meets our expectations and will help our organization grow and improve with each person we get onboard.
DM: Is there anything else you would like to share with me?
CK: I am so grateful for our fantastic community. Throughout the past few years, our community has consistently shown its support and appreciation for the great work the men and women of this department provide. We thank you for your support!