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TPD: Ramsdell’s error isn’t a firing offense

Letter by MacKenzie Allen, Tacoma on May 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm | 13 Comments »
May 6, 2011 1:59 pm

Re: “Police chief ‘lied to citizens,’ review board member says” (TNT, 5-6).

I’m a retired sheriff’s deputy and served on Tacoma’s Citizens’ Review Panel in 2010. I resigned my position after a year for two reasons.

First, the panel’s duties are, by statute, extremely limited, providing little more than proofreading services for the police department’s written policies, making the work tedious in the extreme.

Chief Don Ramsdell was almost always present at these meetings, which took place in the evening. I marveled at his patience and equanimity when, after what had to be a long day, he sat and gave his full attention to the work of the panel.

Second, I found the panel’s chair, Trisha King Stargel – the person calling for Chief Ramsdell’s firing – to be a self-impressed attention-seeker who would go on ad nauseum about the most insignificant point, making tedious work even more unpleasant. I was therefore disheartened but not surprised to read of her call for Ramsdell’s dismissal.

John LaFond and Mike West, both mentioned in the article, are bright, level-headed and completely accurate in their assessment of this situation being outside the purview of the panel.

Ramsdell made a serious mistake of judgment, but his motives were not evil and he has certainly paid the price for his actions. If, as King Stargel suggests, this constitutes a firing offense, we’d better start hiring robots. But I’ll put my money on Chief Ramsdell any day.

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