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Criticisms arise over Tacoma's selection process for police chief

As Tacoma enters the final stages for choosing its police chief, some residents have questioned the city’s selection process.

TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma has narrowed down its pool for police chief to four candidates.

The search has been almost a year in the making, with Michael Ake serving as interim police chief while Tacoma finds the right person for the role.

Shelby Fritz, director of Tacoma’s Human Resources, said the city wanted to make sure that the most qualified candidates were looked at, so they could help lead Tacoma in a new way.

“In terms of transformation, you don’t always want to stick with a narrow pool of candidates,” Fritz explained. “Let’s get the broadest, most experienced group we can, whether they live in Florida, Kentucky, California, or wherever.”

Each candidate has a decades-long career. They bring over 100 years of combined experience to the table.

But Tanisha Antoine, president of LegallyBlack, said experience isn’t the issue, it’s how the city got to this point in the first place.

“They did not utilize any of the Black or Brown community to be a part of the selection process,” Antoine said.

Antoine said representatives from various communities within Tacoma weren’t asked to participate by the city in selecting the four finalists. She warned that without a connection to the communities that would be served, an incoming police chief won’t have the knowledge needed to deal with Tacoma’s problems.   

“There’s a blind spot you already have,” she said. “We’ve already seen that when we have the internal Tacoma Police Chief being brought in, they’re not doing anything different. So fresh blood is necessary. However, if you’re not including your community, you are failing your community.”

The candidates are:

Michael Carroll: Retired from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office in San Leandro, California in April, where he was responsible for the Emergency Services Communication Center and served in a variety of leadership roles. 

Sean Case: Currently serves within the Anchorage Police Department as the captain responsible for internal affairs, patrol, the administrative and inspection divisions. He is also employed as a police practices consultant for the Daigle Law Group.

Kathy McAlpine: Currently serving as police chief for the Tigard Police Department. She began her career at the Tacoma Police Department as a patrol officer. During her time in Tacoma, she served in several leadership positions, including assistant chief of police for the Administrative and Investigation bureaus. 

Avery Moore: Currently serves the Dallas Police Department as the assistant chief of police for the Investigations Bureau. His career began in Dallas where he started as an officer and has held several leadership roles.

The city expects to appoint a new police chief by December.

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