A Homecoming for City’s New Top Cop

For Keith Parks, working at the East County Sheriff’s Station will be like coming home, only this time he will have a new title under his belt.

On Monday, Parks will assume the post of commander for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and will be the acting chief of police for Thousand Oaks.

Parks, who is being promoted from captain, will replace Cmdr. Kathryn Kemp. Kemp is being transferred to the personnel division of the Ventura office after six years as Thousand Oaks’ top local law enforcement official.

Parks, 44, learned of the promotion last Friday from Sheriff Bob Brooks.


“I’m very excited,” Parks said. “It’s unbelievable to work in Thousand Oaks, and when you couple that with a promotion, there’s no comparison. There’s a lot of challenges, but the rewards are great.”

Parks grew up in the city and attended Newbury Park High School. It was in high school that he first became involved with the Sheriff’s Department by taking part in the first Explorer program sponsored by the east county station, in 1971. The Explorer program exposes teenagers to day-to-day law enforcement activities.

“It was great. Once I got in there, I was hooked,” Parks said. After 23 years on the force, Parks is taking the helm of one of the department’s most coveted posts, after pulling assignments that have ranged from Thousand Oaks traffic officer to public information officer in Ventura, to watch commander for patrol services most recently. But Parks said filling Kemp’s shoes is a daunting task.

“I always seem to get the tough acts to follow,” he said. “She really made her mark on the city. I certainly look forward to working with the city and the [City] Council members.”