Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Tag: Chief Ramsdell


Chief’s controversy reveals an undercurrent of mistrust

In my two previous columns I discussed the controversy surrounding Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell’s failure to disclose embarassing information regarding an Amber Alert in the Zina Linnik murder investigation. There was much discussion, prompting this third blog on the topic.

Initially, I made the argument that the chief should be held accountable for his actions, rather than reverting to “forgive and forget,” as some op-ed writers suggested. Following several Trib articles, which appeared to pave the way for the chief’s speedy exit, I followed up by changing tack to prevent what I felt was overkill. I took this stance because I believed it was fair, balanced and based on my general understanding of the criminal justice work environment in which I have spent my adult life.

Many of you disagreed. Those that chose to dispute my attempt to mitigate the situation did so with passion and conviction. That certainly got my attention. Read more »


Chief doesn’t deserve to be railroaded

Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell must think he’s on a runaway train.

Almost daily, News Tribune articles–including this blog–have dissected his omission of a pertinent mistake regarding the issuance of an Amber Alert during the Linnik murder investigation. Though I disagree with their intent, the stories were objective coverage of an important local issue, and I urge you to read both Friday’s and Sunday’s articles.

Now it’s time to stop this train.

Read more »


Sorry Chief, you blew it

The Tacoma Police Department’s investigation of Zina Linnik’s murder was time-consuming, extensive and intricate. Based on scant information, officers and detectives pursued the case until they had a suspect in custody.  The endeavor took a great deal of coordination and professional work. Unfortunately, not all of the work was professional.

By now the story of the medicated sleep that prevented an earlier issue of the Amber Alert has reached critical mass. The mistakes were a combination of  1) unintentional human error on the part of a good cop, and 2) a bad policy that has been changed. Such things happen in police work, as they happen everywhere else. But I disagree with anyone who would argue the point that it matters little when the poor girl had already been killed. That is both unprofessional and shortsighted.

Someone, somewhere, needs to take the heat. While information available to the public is not always the full story,  that limited amount clearly suggests that someone should have been Chief Ramsdell. But that admission never came. Instead, questions appeared to be left unfinished, and the full story left unsaid.

All of this left the city manager defending the indefensible argument that failing to air the dirty laundry was okay. It’s not. Read more »