Letters to the Editor

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TPD: Turn pressure off embattled chief

Letter by Stephen A. Joyce, Tacoma on May 10, 2011 at 4:05 pm with 10 Comments »
May 11, 2011 10:43 am

We Americans love to build up people, then tear them down. It’s happening with Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell. Apparently many have forgotten the turmoil in which Tacoma was embroiled when he assumed command.

Ramsdell was a topnotch officer, a cop’s cop and a public servant who has shown great respect for Tacoma’s citizens. Under his leadership, a bruised and shaken agency regained its identity and sense of mission, as well as its reputation and standing in the community.

My heart goes out to Zina Linnik and her family. They have suffered so much from the actions of a killer. Ramsdell admittedly made a mistake in judgment after the tragedy by choosing to protect an officer from embarrassment, but it appears that the girl’s death could not have been prevented even without the delay in issuing the Amber Alert.

New policies to prevent a recurrence are already in place. Whether the city will be judged to be legally liable is a separate question best left to our judicial system.

I have noticed that when The News Tribune decides to admit its errors, this can be found in small font on page three. In all fairness, since Ramsdell has apologized above the fold on the front page, it may be time to accept the apology of a good man and move forward.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. Parkland says:

    Stephen Joyce: “Ramsdell admittedly made a mistake in judgment after the tragedy by choosing to protect an officer from embarrassment ..”

    Could very well be all it is, but how will we ever know, since he’s a known liar?

    Stephen Joyce: “Ramsdell .. public servant who has shown great respect for Tacoma’s citizens.”

    Can’t say I agree, you don’t lie to people whom you respect.

    Stephen Joyce: “I have noticed that when The News Tribune decides to admit its errors, this can be found in small font on page three.”

    The TNT is not funded by taxpayer dollars, and they’re not responsible for deciding who gets cuffed and who walks.

  2. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Good letter Steve, I agree completely. The police put their lives on the line for us and they need community support, not condemnation.

    The TNT needs to stop throwing our officers under the bus merely because a lawyer is trying to pressure the city into a settlement for which they are not required to pay.

    An exhausted officer fell asleep. This information was not pertinent to solving the crime and an earlier Amber alert would have made no difference to the outcome of the crime. Because the police did not admit to something that had no impact on the case they should not be vilified in the press.

    With the way the press has exploited this situation, it is a wonder the police talk to them at all.

    If I need help, I am calling the cops, not a TNT reporter. Lawyers do the reverse.

  3. pazzo242 says:

    I have been reading these love letters for Chief Ramsdell and feel it is good that there is so much support for the Chief. At the same time I am perplexed by the ignorance of many of those letter writers.

    The Tacoma Police SOP Manual has sections that cover discipline for various violations and one, specifically covers deliberate deception on the part of any officer. If an officer has been found to deceptive, in other words: lying, then there is harsh punishment, which could include termination. Integrity is the life blood of law enforcement and when the top cop circumvents that integrity it cuts to the core public trust.

    Was Chief Ramsdell deceptive? Through his own statements and that of the City Manager’s reprimand that is exactly the case. So with that said why is Chief Ramdell has not received the same punishment he would have melded out to an officer for the same infraction? There is no doubt that the fine citizens who have been writing in support for Chief Ramsdell would have been calling for the head of any other officer who would have done the same thing—deceived the public to protect another officer. Quite frankly we would have heard comparisons to Janovich or something relating to an unholy “Blue Alliance”.

    The Tacoma Police Department has had a standard that what is good for the troops is not necessarily good for the admin. I saw it time and time again in my 22 years on the department. I saw violations of law that were all swept under the carpet because it was done by a Lieutenant or higher. Yet rank and file officers were suspended or fired for lesser offences.

    When reading this letter you get the impression that I don’t like Chief Ramdell. That is not the case. What I am addressing is the inequities of the department and how citizens are being drug into this “good ol’ boy” system.

  4. Earth_watch says:

    Stephen, you’re missing the point of why this topic persists…

    It wouldn’t matter if Ramsdell was Gandhi, himself… just because someone may have done some good things in the past, it does not excuse that he LIED to the press and the public and possibly city officials and on official documents. He deliberately allowed the cover-up for four years and never did come clean, himself, until the lawsuit uncovered it.

    The Press is doing nothing more than reporting those facts. Ramsdell did this to himself, has only himself to blame, and you can’t blame the public for expecting better. Ramsdell’s four-year’s-late insincere apology is not enough to make this go away.

  5. Earth_watch says:

    You’re welcome to support Ramsdell as he goes through this tough time, since (as much as you’d like it to) this is not going to be swept under the rug… I’m glad the public expects better from our Police Chief, as you should, too.

  6. Earth_watch says:

    Why do you think protecting the moral of the TPD is more important than the public’s trust?

    Frankly this rally of support for Ramsdell is only bringing more attention to his actions and the public’s anger… and only helping focus on him instead of all those involved who should also be being brought to task.

  7. harleyrider1 says:

    Be careful folks what you wish for. The guys in line for Ramsdell’s job are not very highly thought of by the street officers.

  8. odddoylerules says:

    pazo242 please write letter to editor instead of comment!

  9. I feel pazo242 made some very valid points,all of which personally agree with.I too feel this transgression will also be swept under the rug,and it will be business as usual again in the future.As long as mistakes are made and there are people to cover and hide the true facts,the longer the hiding of the truth will continue.

  10. pazzo242 says:

    odddoylerules–done, an edited version of the above comment due to the word number restriction.

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