She is the first and only female operations patrol deputy in Humboldt County history to promote beyond the rank of patrol sergeant, the second of only two female deputies ever assigned to the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, and a champion of ethics and accountability. Now, after almost 25 years of saving lives and protecting our community, Captain Kym Thompson begins a new journey: retirement.
“From the moment you decide you want to be in law enforcement, your life changes,” Thompson said.
For Thompson, that change was drastic, taking her from manufacturing plywood to eventually training the next generation of law enforcement leaders. It all started with a career aptitude test.
“I worked in a plywood mill in the late 80’s and as with a lot of lumber companies and mills, they were planning on closing down that mill,” Thompson said. “A job training center offered to re-train people who wanted to go into other fields of work. They had us sit down and complete this testing process, and from that, one of the things I was purportedly drawn to, or could be good at, was law enforcement.”
The center paid for Thompson’s academy training, setting her up for her career. However, the smooth start wouldn’t last long.
“When I got out of the police academy in 1992, there were layoffs going on all across the state,” Thompson said. “I found myself sitting in the lobby of police and sheriff’s offices next to veteran officers that had 10 to 15 years of experience, and they were all vying for the same jobs that I was vying for.”
Nevertheless, her fighting spirit is what eventually landed her at the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office in April of 1994. She was the first patrol hire the office had made in several years. Thompson first served as a Garberville resident deputy. Returning to the main station in 1996, she began a position as a Recruit Training Officer at the College of the Redwoods Police Academy and later became a Field Training Officer for new deputies.
In 2002, Thompson became the second woman to ever be on the Humboldt County Drug Task Force. Then four years later, she was promoted to Sergeant; during this time supervising the main station, McKinleyville and Hoopa sub stations, court protection and animal control. In 2013, she promoted again to Patrol Lieutenant, and two years later, she promoted to Operations Captain.
Throughout her promotions, Thompson continued to teach at the police academy. She is currently teaching a course on law enforcement ethics, something she champions greatly.
“It has not been easy,” Thompson said. “The people who were my role models coming up in this agency all had a standard. I’m hoping that I have set an example for others to follow in this agency for their careers if they want to promote up through the ranks.”
After setting the standard high for what it means to be an ethical and respectable law enforcement officer, Thompson now turns the reigns over to the next generation of peace officers, many of which she has trained, to lead the way.
“Captain Kym Thompson will be greatly missed at the Sheriff’s Office,” Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said. “She always set the bar high for herself and those she supervised. Kym has a strong work ethic and was always the first to work and the last to leave. Throughout her career, her uniform was always the sharpest and her boots were the best polished. Above all, Kym showed that she has a huge heart and she cares deeply for the deputy sheriffs and for the community she serves. We are going to miss her, but are very happy that she can enjoy retirement after 25 years of public service.”
Sheriff Honsal and the entire staff of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office are thankful for Captain Kym Thompson’s many years of service to the community and wish her happiness and success in her retirement.