TACOMA, Wash. – Don Ramsdell, Chief of Police for the City of Tacoma since 2003, announced July 20 that he will retire from the force effective January 2021.
“I have been discussing my plans to retire with City Manager Elizabeth Pauli for some time,” said Ramsdell. “I want to make sure the City has time to conduct a thorough search for my successor, and I want to make sure we provide for a smooth transition in leadership. I stand ready to help the city in whatever way I can to assist in that process.”
“I want to thank Chief Ramsdell for his many years of service and for his willingness to help us make a successful leadership transition in our police department,” said Pauli. “We will now embark on the process to fill this incredibly important position. I want to assure our community that we intend to conduct a thorough search and will invite robust public input as part of that process. Above all, we will be looking for leadership competencies that will support our goal of transformational policing for our city.”
“I also would like to express my appreciation for Chief Ramsdell’s years of service and the many relationships that he built in the Tacoma community during his tenure,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards. “The next leader of our police department will build on the foundation that Chief Ramsdell laid in his work on Project PEACE to bring meaningful transformation of policing in Tacoma.”
Ramsdell will spend the next several months helping to ensure the department has a smooth transition to new leadership. He joined the Tacoma Police Department in 1985 as a patrol officer and advanced through the ranks of the department to become chief 18 years ago. He is the longest-serving police chief in the department’s history.
The Tacoma Police Department has embarked on a series of transformational improvements and reforms and will continue down this path without delay. Preliminary steps include the implementation of the principles of Campaign Zero’s “8 Can’t Wait”, introducing body-worn cameras for officers, and supporting a community trauma response team.