TACOMA, Wash. — The community is looking for changes from the new chief of police in Tacoma. Tuesday was Avery Moore's first day on the job.
“I think he’s walking into a situation where the city is in need of answers,” said Will Hausa of the Black Collective, said of Moore.
Moore comes from Dallas, where he served as an assistant chief for the department’s Investigation Bureau.
He is stepping in as chief while the department is dealing with a string of controversies. Hausa pointed to the department’s involvement in the death of Manuel Ellis as a top priority.
“We currently have three police officers that have been charged with murder and are still actively employed by the city,” Hausa said. “I think a lot of people in the city of Tacoma don’t feel like we have to wait for a trial date to find out if these officers really do deserve to be a part of the city of Tacoma’s workforce.”
Chief Moore is also coming as Tacoma deals with a spike in crime, most notably an 80% increase in arsons and a 63% increase in motor vehicle thefts.
There are also fewer people to deal with it. Tacoma police is working with a staff of 50 fewer personnel than it’s budgeted for, which has led to longer response times. That's something Angela Connelly, founder of TacomaSafe, hopes the incoming chief will address.
“I do think we need more police,” she said. “But I also think we need to be more creative and innovative.”
Meanwhile, Hausa said he hopes that Chief Moore will follow through on his proposed community-led initiatives to find more effective solutions to crime.
“I believe if you want to have real conversations about the spike in crime in Tacoma, then let community be involved in those conversations, because community probably has some answers that law enforcement doesn’t have,” he said.
The common theme: hope that Moore will have what it takes to steer Tacoma in the right direction.
“There’s been a lot of frustration, but I do think that has led to a situation that I think Chief Avery can be very successful in, as a healer for our community and a bridge-builder,” Connelly said.
“Not only did he have an opportunity to interview with the citizens and administrators with the city, he also had the opportunity to interview with members of the department, and they are as excited for him coming to Tacoma just as much as the community is,” said Hausa.