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Tacoma police chief reprimanded in Zina case

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on April 29, 2011 at 11:13 am with 56 Comments »
April 30, 2011 1:11 am

Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson has reprimanded Police Chief Don Ramsdell for not telling him the department’s spokesman was being paid to be on-call the morning he fell back to sleep instead of issuing an Amber Alert for 12-year-old Zina Linnik.

Anderson also ordered Ramsdell to initiate an internal affairs investigation to determine if spokesman Mark Fulghum violated department policy the morning of July 5, 2007, by taking something to help him sleep. Police department personnel are forbidden from being impaired when on-call, Anderson told The News Tribune this morning. (Click here to see reprimand and related documents.)

Fulghum said in a deposition filed in a wrongful death suit brought against the city and other governments that he took an Advil PM before going to bed about 1 a.m. that day.

“We do not know that he violated policy,” the city manager said. “The issue has been raised.”

Don Ramsdell, Tacoma Chief of Police

The city also will hire an independent, outside consultant to review the way the Police Department investigated Linnik’s disappearance and murder “from beginning to end,” the city manager said.

Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland said the actions were needed to repair what she called the “fragile relationship” between the police department and the community.

“When I hear people say you violated our trust, it says to me there was trust there to begin with,” Strickland said. “We have to work on repairing that relationship.”

The action comes as a result of The News Tribune’s reporting on the wrongful death lawsuit brought against the city, Pierce County and the state of Washington by Linnik’s family.

Records filed in the case and reported by The News Tribune show Fulghum fell back to sleep after receiving a call from a detective sergeant to issue an Amber Alert about six hours after the 12-year-old girl was abducted from behind her home July 4, 2007. The alert did not go out for about another six hours.

Fulghum and Ramsdell initially told the news media the delay occurred because detectives needed more time to firm up details used in the alert.

Anderson and Strickland announced the investigations this morning just three days after saying no further action was needed in the case. The reversal in action came after News Tribune reporter Lewis Kamb formally requested from the city Fulghum’s pay records from July 4 and July 5.

It was during the course of responding to that inquiry that Anderson said he learned for the first time that Fulghum was on-call July 5. The city manager said he’d previously been under the impression that Fulghum was off-duty and on his own time that morning.

Chief Ramsdell should have told him that fact during multiple conversations regarding Fulghum’s actions, Anderson said.

“I did not know that, and I should have been told that,” the city manager said. “I wasn’t informed, and action was necessary.”

Fulghum, who has not be disciplined for his actions, remains on paid duty.

Leave a comment Comments → 56
  1. Heads should roll…….but they won’t!!

  2. Pecksbadboy says:

    Nothing will happen, an internal investigation by their own will clear all involved.

  3. John Levey says:

    Just a reminder to all readers how much money these people were paid in 2010:
    Anderson: $248,911

    Ramsdell: $177,906

    Fulghum: $107,005 (probably doing the same “on call” shifts (sleeping) as mentioned in the article)

    OVER a half million dollars these three are making a year and this is the service they give to the citizens? Laziness, deception, and terrible communication! Sickening!

  4. John Hathaway says:

    Fulghum by Department policy is on call 24/7. Ergo he would not be allowed to take any medication or that matter even have a beer.

    Another failure in the system.

    Also as there was no written amber alert policy in place at the time so any TPD personnel could have asked for an amber alert with consequence.

  5. commoncents says:

    What they make is irrelevent. My support of Ramsdell and Fulghum is thread-thin based upon this revelation. I was not aware that he was on-call. I’m still don’t believe that it’s a heads should roll event but most definately a suspension w/out pay should be part of the equation. A reprimand is simply not enough.

  6. dankuykendall says:

    Just not enough of a consequence. He needs to be fired along with Fulghum.

  7. Is this the third or fourth set of lies by Chief Ramsdell, Mark Fulgham and Eric Anderson? I’ve lost count!

  8. John Hathaway says:


    should have read “without consequence”.

  9. From nearly no reaction from Anderson to this. Good job Anderson. Seriously.

    Make sure next time some clown at the TPD doesn’t fall asleep long enough for a murder of a child to happen in the lag time.

  10. Whatever the outcome of the investigation, there will be no accountability. None. Each person involved here will still get a raise next year, still get a pension, and be paid for every day off or hour taken to deal with the investigation.

    The series of debacles the last couple years has proven that no outcome, regardless of fault or responsibility, will result in a city employee being impacted in terms of their compensation, future raises and benefits, or career path (see Luzon Bldg, Cheney Stadium, Zina Linnik, Electronic Billboards, Russell departure, pagoda cost).

  11. jurisprudencelaw says:

    “First the Ramsdell gets hit by the Tribune. Then twice this week by The New Takhoman. Then by City Manager Anderson. Then again today by the Tribune.

    Looks like it’s just not Donny’s week to which he replies, “Why is everbody pickin’ on me?””

  12. Fulghum was on call and supposed to unimpaired?
    Fulghum was not the only person who could issue an amber alert?

    When is the public going to finally get the whole truth on this episode?

  13. Bill Garrison says:

    Scapegoating at it’s best. Don Ramsdell is a very fine chief of police and that poor kid was dead long before anyone could have issued an amber alert. The villain here is the man that killed Lina…………..not the Chief.

    Fulghum apparently dropped the ball and Ramsdell did the thing that all good leaders do, he didn’t purposely hang his man out to dry.

    I’ve been through a ton of police chiefs dating back to Chuck Zittel and I think that Tacoma should be very thankful for the leadership of Don Ramsdell. He is one of the best, and most sane Police Chiefs that this city has ever had.

    I know it’s a lot of fun to heckle the government but get off his back already!

  14. tree_guy says:

    “that poor kid was dead long before anyone could have issued an amber alert” Bill Garrison

    How do you know Bill, were you there?

  15. “most sane Police Chiefs that this city has ever had.”
    I love that. I love that so much. Nice work Mr. Kamb!


  16. @ Bill, mistakes I can understand. Poor decisions under stress I can understand. But Chief Ramsdell deliberately lying to the public I cannot understand and then Chief Ramsdell covering it up. Now we learn, that TPD policy when an officer is being paid on- call he cannot be impaired in any way which is what Fulgham claimed the reason why he delayed the alert, he took Tylenol PM, which means he was impaired. It also means Chief Ramsdell lied to Eric Anderson AGAIN. How can you condone this kind of behavior? Clearly, you are part of the “friends and family program” that exists at TPD. Is lying now an appropriate strategy for dealing with the public? If a police force – and more importantly, its chief – is willing to mislead us about a delayed Amber Alert , what will they lie about at other times? Perhaps when I get pulled over? Perhaps when you or your family member is the victim of a crime? Perhaps when you or your family member is charged with a crime? Put simply, Chief Ramsdell, Mark Fulgham’s proven record of dishonesty prevents them from useful service as a law enforcement officers.

  17. No Bill, it is not scapegoating.

    The issue is not about Zina and when she died. I think it is pretty well established that even if the the Amber Alert had been issued on time, it would not have helped her.

    The issue is that the Chief of Police LIED to the public and withheld facts. He lied to cover for one of his own. Why not admit up front that a mistake was made, learn from it and move on?

    When you cannot trust the man responsible for an agency that is supposed to “serve and protect” the citizens of Tacoma, we have a problem.

  18. Terminate Employment of Chief Ramsdell and Mark Fulgham.

    The societal benefits of creating a public policy of police honesty are enormous. If all parties in the criminal justice system believe that police officers would not lie at the risk of losing their careers, issues of credibility regarding police will be greatly reduced, leading to more successful prosecutions, a reduced number of constitutional violations, and fewer liability cases and losses. In addition, officers are increasingly reluctant to cover for fellow officers who have committed acts of misconduct because of increased moral and ethical standards as well as the risk of discipline. If lying for a fellow officer will lead to almost certain termination, such a policy might in time eliminate the “code of silence” completely.


  19. “It was during the course of responding to that inquiry that Anderson said he learned for the first time that Fulghum was on-call July 5. The city manager said he’d previously been under the impression that Fulghum was off-duty…”

    What?? The very first story in the TNT said Fulghum was on-call. I guess Anderson doesn’t read the paper. But isn’t this an issue that should have come up before now, regardless?

    This is ridiculous. He was basing his personnel actions on the employee whom he was getting his information from. Serious procedural issues infect our City Hall, folks.

  20. More money wasted. When you have the fox guarding the henhouse what do you expect? This is the exact reason why the police have the feeling of superiority over the general population and think they answer to no one. Oh and look down their nose at us

  21. Thank you Lewis Kamb for doing the city managers job. I am happy you guys at the trib look into this. The city manager and Mayor have lost all objectivity and credibility.

  22. The link below: Detective Brad Graham on apparently lying to the public on camera. Detective Graham, I believe was also, one of the detectives that interviewed Adhahn where he claimed Zena Linnik was killed right away.


  23. Jill Milner says:

    Enough rock throwing. Punish the people who lied by omission and the person who was on duty, but was not physically capable of doing the duties.

    Then, make it a policy that the Duty Officer in charge of any shift is capable of instituting an Amber Alert with justifiable information.

    It’s better to issue an Amber Alert and NOT need one than to NOT issue an Amber Alert and have another child die.

  24. Anderson is whining he had not been told by the chief. He knew about the lies for years and never bothered to tell the council. As the city manager who makes a quarter million bucks a year you’d think he would have the wits to look at the time card. Can that man stand up straight and just admit that is swirling right in the middle of this thing that needs to be flushed?

  25. frankiethomas says:

    It IS about the ling. And Strickland made it worse when she patted us all on the head and said no further action was needed to restore our trust. Didn’t anybody learn anything from CLinton? It’s not the screw-up it’s the cover-up. I do not think they should be fired. Good grief wehave it a lot better than what is going on in Seattle right now. I will certainly take the devil I know over the devil I don’t. But come out and sau I c=screwed up, he screwed up, we screwed up, and dang it we;re sorry. I know as most know that the AMber ALert would nothave saved that child. But I would like to know that hubris and machismo won’t stand in the way of the NEXT rescue.

  26. tree_guy says:

    “I know as most know that the AMber ALert would nothave saved that child” frankie thomas

    How do you know? Were you there?

  27. reformedliberal says:

    Was it not just 3-4 days ago that the city manager told the City Council “No further disciplinary actions is needed”?

    Maybe what he really meant to say was, “Let me handle this.”

  28. If it is founded that they lied …then reprimand, however, they are not responsible for her death. I know people will not be happy when I say this but… why was that little girl out that late unsupervised? Holiday or not. How can they have the right to sue over the “what ifs” – would they have found her had they did an Amber Alert? Probably not in this case as they did not have much to go on. It took them time to even find the perp due to the fact that this young child was out alone late by herself with no witnesses completely unsupervised. It is a big “what if” on the amber alert issue. I happen to be a fan of most of the TPD – granted back in the early 90 it would have been nice if they had helped me in a bad violent time but instead turned their heads. But that was just two of the many guys and girls who are really there for their community. Again if it comes out to he said she said …and no one wants to fess up and take responsibility for not doing their job then reprimand them all. See what it feels like to loose a paycheck or two…or even more.. And that goes for the manager as well. All anyone wants is the facts… not a junior high school he said …”well I didn’t know” kinda picture.

  29. @YID Trivia!
    Interesting video, I believe that Detective Brad Graham now owns this Tacomic http://comics.feedtacoma.com/tacomic/tacomic-rise-fall-judge-hecht/

  30. Taikoubou says:

    The same thing can be asked of you tree_guy: “How do you know that not issuing the alert killed the child? Do you have any proof that it would have or would not have?” I don’t want to sound harsh, but if all you are going to post is something like that then its pointless to take you seriously.

    In any case I believe that action should be taken against the Police Chief and Mark Fulghum as well.

  31. hey Jod. Had the Linniks not sued, the police would have gotten away with lies, being on drugs during duty and for failing to learn a thing at the Amber holiday retreat in Hawaii. I welcome a law suit any day to bring to light cops that lie blatantly. Sad only that we will have to pay for the defense of the cops.
    And really sad you blame the family. That is LOW

  32. frankiethomas says:

    I wasn’t there tree guy, but from what has been reported she was killed shortly after her abduction. Look how quickly the amber alert went out in the Federal Way case a couple weeks ago – it did not help recover the child who thankfully made it home alive, but it was instrumental in the arrest of the perpetrator.

    I am not saying they shouldn’t have issued the alert and I am not saying they shouldn’t be reprimanded. I just think as a community we can;t put her blood on their hands and then feel safer because of it. There are plenty more sex offenders out there and rapid fire amber alerts won’t save our children.

  33. tree_guy says:

    “How do you know that not issuing the alert killed the child? talkaubou

    I didn’t suggest that the 12 hour delayed amber alert played any part in Zina’s death. But a lot of people are claiming that an amber alert wouldn’t have done any good because Zina was already dead. We don’t know the time of death so we can’t say with any certainty if an Amber Alert would have helped or not. A timely amber alert MIGHT have saved Zina’s life. You cannot quarrel with this statement.

  34. tree_guy says:

    “I wasn’t there tree guy, but from what has been reported she was killed shortly after her abduction” Frankie

    The source of that report was the killer himself. Would you consider the killer a credible witness?

  35. My feeling is that during the interview of Adhahn the TPD detectives knew about the delayed Amber Alert and asked leading questions to get him to say, “I killed her right away” so TPD could say, “the delayed Amber alert would not matter.” I feel this way because I have lost trust and faith that TPDs leadership to tell the truth, is honest and feel they cannot be trusted.

  36. Slag – you are an idiot. No where did I blame the family… I stated a fact. This child was left unsupervised at night without any supervision. I take it you are ok with that .. weird parenting and not very pro child safety. He was not on ‘drugs’ such as a street thug- yet another ignorant remark on your part. I was simply stating all of the “what ifs” in this case. Its hard to blame anyone with no one real answers and a lot of “but he said she said BS” and honestly there a a lot of people to blame what happened to this precious child. I , for one, would have never left my child unattended at night at all. Because of this exact situation …actually because of many reasons why…i.e drive by’s … deal gone bad… speeding traffic… you name it. And because of any negligence of any part I sure as heck would not be suing a City for a large amount monies. Throwing a fit without ‘doing the wrong thing’ can also get results…

  37. city and tacoma police will be using the word of a child murderer and corpse molester against the family of Zina Linnik who had to sue to find out the truth.

    Way to go!

  38. Why should the public trust an external investigation by a consultant who is being paid to conduct the investigation by the City of Tacoma? I think it’s time to call in the Department of Justice to conduct the investigation. Save the tax payers the money and terminate Ramsdell and Fulgham. That will restore public faith and confidence in the City and TPD.

  39. Wasn’t it the TPD that conducted the investigation into Michael Hecht? Did the TPD lie during that investigation?

  40. Every case that has been investigated and tried by the TPD is in questions at this point. How many cases would that be? Thousands?

  41. I was taught as a child to trust the Police. How can you trust a department that is led by a man who has been dishonest in the past?

  42. I believe in my heart that the vast majority of Tacoma police men and women are good. The lies; however, tarnish their good name. I expect more from my peace officers.

  43. Hey Jod, there you go blaming the family again.
    Fulghum was on duty like the time card showed according to the Tribune article above. He had also taken drugs, said so himself. Hence he was on duty and on drugs.
    Ramsdell and Fulghum lied for four years about what happened. That is why we are all talking here. No matter your spin. The Linniks have the right and good reason to sue – more power to them.

  44. yid, I wondered about the Hecht case,too. Seemed a bit to convenient for TPD. They took the word of Hecht’s opponents rivals’ son and some addicts to him convicted. Seems blatantly unjust.

  45. fire the both of them… dereliction of duty… falsifying reports… telling lies to cover their a**es instead of coming clean… completely insensitive and an utter disregard concerning the severity of their actions… Oh yeah… FIRE THEM YESTERDAY

  46. should be fired and not allowed to be so much as a security officer… tick tock tick tock… are they fired yet… what is taking so long

  47. Pomisher says:

    Great… Another revelation… I was trying to support ya and now this. Doing double shifts and being on call 24/7? Come on Mark! It doesn’t work. New leadership is in order.

  48. paulkathyann says:

    I’m still waiting for the paper to do an article about the license plate search.

  49. controller1 says:

    How can we be expected to beleive any thing the City Manager says?

    Three days ago, after he interviewed the Police Chief, he basically cleared the Chief of any wrong doing. Now, after all the outrage by citizens of Tacoma calling for the Mayor and Council to fire him also, he all of a sudden realizes that Officer Fulghum was on duty July 5th and had taken a drug. (It took him 4 years to discover this violation???)

    Our City Manager is hoping that the Citizens of Tacoma fell asleep while on duty, and will now buy into his New coverup story!

    How can we trust any investigation conducted by the Police Dept, (self investigation?) or any independent group, if it is ordered by the City Manager?

    Writer Jodiludw.. needs real help. To make a comment about Zina being unsupervised the night of her killing is going too far! God help you.

    Writer Bill Garri…. Did you mean that you need to get off the backs of Tacoma citizens. I have this saying for your buddy the Chief, Once a Liar, always a Liar! He also knows how to play the Coverup game real good too. Many years of practice in this game can almost make any one an expert.

  50. Quote: “When I hear people say you violated our trust, it says to me there was trust there to begin with,” (Mayor) Strickland said.

    Oh, my good god… will someone pull her aside and suggest she not open her mouth in public anymore? Does the city not have a single PR person to help this woman filter out insulting stupidity? It should go without saying that a community should be able to trust their law enforcement… she seems surprised we’d expect that but at the same time she’s trying to turn our outrage back on us.

    She goes on to say: “We have to work on repairing that relationship.” Don’t know why that wasn’t important to her a few days ago when she told us to just get over it and “move on” but since she brought it up: the ONLY way for faith to be rebuilt will be if Fulghum, Ramsdell and Anderson are FIRED and their salaries for the last four years returned to the taxpayers and the family they devastated… actually we’ll be satisfied with just the three firings.

    To: jodiludwig… what makes you think the little girl was unsupervised? It was the night of July 4th, all kinds of people were outside watching fireworks… there were people nearby since there were witnesses to the abduction. Your assumptions are completely unhelpful and unnecessary.

    Speaking of the abduction, I still want to know why it took the detectives till 4am to call for the Amber Alert to begin with. Why wasn’t it called for as soon as the abduction was reported hours earlier? There’s going to be a lot more coming out, that is STILL being covered-up.

  51. And who reprimands anderson? What a bad joke..Until the City of Tacoma gets rid of anderson, and ramsdell, and fulgum, there can be NO TRUST…..

  52. I want to thank the TNT for bringing these events to the public. If true at the least the Police Chief withheld information about the delay of the Amber alert. At the worst the Chief covered up the incident which is an egregious use of his office. He likely lied to Anderson and City Council. Thus a repremand is likely insufficient and Tacoma may be searching for a new Police Chief.

    My heart goes out to the family of Zina for their loss.

  53. But folks! Cool down. Listen.

    If you don’t like what Ramsdell, Anderson, and the whole council are saying…

    They will have have an all new and improved story in a few days for us.

  54. I agree with Twill. Strickland has proven to be a dud. Unfortunate for Tacoma.

  55. A reprimand…..any other cop did that they would face days off or fired. What a crock……he should be removed from the top cop position, end of story.

  56. This story has been moved (again)… the updated article is now at:


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