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TPD: Police not required to tell media anything

Letter by Michael J. Hanagan, Yorba Linda, Calif. on June 1, 2011 at 8:37 am with 20 Comments »
June 1, 2011 11:03 am

Re: “Chief once fired cop for lying” (TNT, 6-1).

The News Tribune been shilling for plaintiff’s counsel in this absurd matter of the Zina Linnik Amber Alert notification, but things have now reached pathetic levels. Let’s be clear about a few things:

• Nobody at the Tacoma Police Department was under any obligation to reveal anything to either The News Tribune or other media outlets about the case or any other active investigation. You are a private, for-profit businesses and not telling you things or not telling you the truth is no offense, criminal or otherwise.

• Sadly, Zina Linnick was dead within minutes of her disappearance, thus an Amber Alert would have been pointless in any event.

• There is a gulf between not telling things to the media and actively lying about inappropriate conduct in one’s official duties. Why The News Tribune can’t comprehend that is a mystery to me.

(Hanagan is a former Tacoma police officer, deputy Pierce County prosecutor and Administration of Justice instructor at Tacoma Community College.)

Leave a comment Comments → 20
  1. schipperke says:

    My question is: What happens next time when an officer of the laws goes back to bed or for any other reason doesn’t post an Amber Alert in a timely fashion?
    The focus here shoudn’t be that it’s assumed a child died before an Amber Alert could be issued. The focus should be the fact that an officer of the law behaved in a very irresponsible manner and should also be held accountable for their choice. Finding an excuse for the officer’s lack of concern for a child in grave danger is pathetic!

  2. Pecksbadboy says:

    Another lifetime insider from (Yorba Linda CA) who wants to cover for the failure of the rest of his fellow “brothers” and politicians who keep him employed inside the golden tower.

    This is corruption, plain and simple.

    YOU are responsible to the people who pay your salaries to give the truth even if it makes you or any public employee look bad.

  3. So the TPD is the CIA or the KGB?
    Who is the government ultimately responsible too?
    Do you really want the mid-seventies back again?
    It’s time arrogance took at back seat in America.
    But that’s not happening, things are just getting worse.

  4. Could we have someone besides a Californian
    telling us about our business?

  5. commoncents says:

    The writer has a point. Was Ramsdell asked by his boss about it (and no-we are not his boss!)? Did he hinder any investigation? I don’t believe that to be the case.

    Additionally, no laws were broken here so comparing to the 70’s (implying that this is another Watergate) is a bit rediculous.

    While it might be nice to have the police be 100% open with the news outlets it would also be nice to have all the politicians be the same – and equally as important have the news outlets be completely unbiased in their reporting. Obviously we don’t get any of these things. I’m guessing that the ones screaming the loudest about corruption and systemic failures are the ones that already have a beef with government and the police.

  6. he was getting paid to do a job and went back to sleep-if any of us who do not work for this city-slept while we were being paid…would we still have a job???

  7. Mr. Hanagan,

    There is much case law on this subject.

    “In King vs. Erikson, His denials were determined to be untruthful. The Supreme Court, in its unanimous decision, affirmed the agency’s ability to terminate Erickson for this untruthfulness, citing Bryson v. United States, in which the Court held, “Our legal system provides methods for challenging the government’s right to ask questions—lying is not one of them. A citizen may decline to answer the question, or answer it honestly, but he cannot with impunity knowingly and willfully answer with a falsehood.”

    Which is exactly what Ramsdell and Fulgam did.

    Zina Linnik may have been killed right away. They are relying on the killers, Adhahn’s confession. The primary cause of death listed by the ME was blunt force trauma, which contradicts Adhahn’s confession.

    Your letter, Mr. Hanagan, reinforces the code of silence at TPD. The only thing that will begin to restore public trust is the termination of Chief Ramsdell and Fulgham.

  8. I was implying Janovic. Are you from another part of the country?

  9. I feel Mr Hanagan is assuming too much.Unless He was present At Zinas death,then he can not verify when she really died.At this time we only have speculation and guesses as to what time she actually died.I wouldn’t give much credence to anything the Murderer proclaims.Yids response was very much on the money as I see it.I also give credit to THE TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE for following up on this story.In spite of those that would have liked to have kept the facts hidden from the public!

  10. pazzo242 says:

    “Nobody at the Tacoma Police Department was under any obligation to reveal anything to either The News Tribune or other media outlets about the case or any other active investigation. You are a private, for-profit businesses and not telling you things or not telling you the truth is no offense, criminal or otherwise.”

    Freedom of Information Act.

    Nobody deserves to fired over this but deserves more then a slp on the wrist, that is for sure and all Ramsdell got.

  11. harleyrider1 says:

    Fulgham would have been disciplined had he not been in the “clique”, Ramsdell was wrong for not requiring an I.A. investigation to at least give the appearance of equal fairness to the other officers.

    Any Chief should should lead by example. If truth in any form was of substance to Ramsdell, then he alone knows how truthful he was in this matter. What’s more important, is would he accept the same level from a patrol officer he didn’t like?

    As for Hanagan, he never worked there long enough to retire. Tacoma taxpayers needs to force this issue at a Council meeting or put it to rest and shut up.

  12. It is people like you and the hack that is a cop that writes for this paper that prove the problem with the thick blue line(no longer thin). You excuse inexcusable behavior, and you defend indefensible actions. You are PART of the problem that exists. Get rid of the corrupt cops and their chiefs, restore public trust in the police forces, strip the guilds of their power, and give administrators the ability to clean up the rank and file. It’s time to restore honor and integrity to our Law Enforcement Agencies. I remember 20 years ago when people respected cops. We need a return to that time; and that requires a return to better individuals in law enforcement.

  13. “(Hanagan is a former Tacoma police officer, deputy Pierce County prosecutor and Administration of Justice instructor at Tacoma Community College.)”

    I think we can all be thankful Mr Hanagan left the Pacific Northwest.

    Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/letters/2011/06/01/whatever-you-like/#ixzz1O9Fbx4fq

  14. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    Alinup, I agree, let’s get some actual locals in this, not just the move ins from down south. Get real people, the Chief lied, we are doing nothing? When will the Chieff make the burning beging?

  15. olympicmtn says:

    Michael says: There is a gulf between not telling things to the media and ACTIVELY LYING about inappropriate conduct in one’s official duties. Why The News Tribune can’t comprehend that is a mystery to me.

    You sound like a lawyer. In the real world if you lie to your board of directors you are fired. There is no spin in the corporate world when you lie to your shareholders. There are consequences for LYING. Unlike law enforcement or former prosecutors who hide behind the shield as if the PUBLIC has no right to know the truth. Forget the Trib, I am talking about everyday citizens POST BRAME mind you. So you sir are no expert on LYING. Ramsdell lied. Plain and simple.

  16. sue1234 says:

    When law enforcement officials, active duty or retired, need to make excuses for their inappropriate behavior, in order to minimalize the impact.. the citizenship is in peril.

    A friend of mine was arrested at a protest, the police officer told he.. ” I am the good guy YOU are the bad guy… if everyday citizens had the ablity to coverup or dismiss crimes like the police can…. we could save a lot of $$.. eh?

  17. ItalianSpring says:

    Hanagan is correct. His knowledge of the law and facts is clear.

  18. pazzo242 says:

    Italian Springs–I usually agree with you but this time you are wrong. The Freedom of Information Act forces PD’s to tell what happened and if it is held back until the civil trial it would look even worst. Additionally when Director Phillips had control of the department back in the 80’s he constantly put the media at bay and then they just made things up. By holding information back it always looks like a cover-up.

    Ramsdell came clean, eventually, but it took too long and there is the problem. He was deceptive and people expect more from the top cop. I don’t think there is this thick blue line like TMell wrote. Cops hate other cops who lie and this entire incident has given TPD a black eye.

    Olympicmtn–can we stop making the comparisson to Brame. That is becoming lame. Brame killed, Ramsdell lied—there is NO connection between the two. Give it a rest!

    TMell–you cannot strip the unions of their power or rights. It’s against the law. Common people, use your heads and think clearly. Think of what might really work.

  19. Pazzo-actually the unions power is negotiated…..we definitley CAN strip them of their power. It’s just a matter of realizing the unions/guilds power is in contrast to the publics interest. It’s not against the law, it just requires lawmakers that have some personal integrity…..which we are very short of in this state.

  20. Why am I not surprised that “sue 1234″ had a friend arrested at a protest? She continually shoves her foot down her gullet.

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