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Tacoma Police Chief Avery Moore speaks on his vision for the city

Tacoma's newest police chief called on the community to engage in a new approach to policing.

TACOMA, Wash. — The new chief of the Tacoma Police Department (TPD) has a lot on his plate.

Avery Moore began his tenure as Tacoma’s top officer in Jan. 2022 and is already dealing with calls to re-evaluate statewide police reform, homelessness and a continuing surge in crime.

After over 30 years at the Dallas Police Department, Moore said he’s happy to be in Tacoma and is focused on an agenda to address the city’s needs.

First up: The city’s rising crime rate.

Data from the TPD shows an increase of more than 17% in crimes against persons, which includes assaults and homicides, and a nearly 14% increase in property crimes between 2020 and 2021.

Moore said a plan to address the surge in crime is already in the initial stages, but he said he’ll need help for the plan to work.

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“It’s an unfair ask to expect police to deal with crime all by themselves,” said Moore. “It’s completely unrealistic.”

Moore is calling on Tacomans to be a part of the process. He hopes to put together a Citizens Advisory Board to work alongside the TPD and said community engagement is vital in making sure policing is effective, equitable and fair.

“If you don’t have a voice, if you don’t get to share your expectations, then you can be a victim of over-policing,” explained Moore. “This plan is not going to do that. I don’t believe in over-policing.”

Tacoma has also been grappling with a growing homeless community, and while it’s a serious issue, it’s not one Moore feels police should be called on to address.

“I think people that suffer from homelessness need resources, and it’s our responsibility from a city perspective to offer them and follow through with them,” explained Moore. “Even if we were at full staff, there’s more people suffering from homelessness than I have police officers… but to just make the act of being homeless criminal, I just don’t see that as realistic, and I would like to think that’s not the direction the law is going to go because that would be felt, not only in Tacoma but throughout the nation.”

WATCH: One-on-one interview with Tacoma Police Chief Avery Moore

There’s also the larger goal of rebuilding trust between police and the community.

The death of Manuel Ellis was a major blow to the department’s standing in the city. It's something Moore said he noticed when he arrived.

“I felt it just in the interview process, that shadow is here because it’s somewhat unresolved,” said Moore.

But Moore hopes a strong foundation can help re-establish those community connections to help make Tacoma safer for all.

“I believe that people want to be policed, and I believe that they want the criminal element to be weeded out of their community,” said Moore. “The more you can understand the people that you service, the more they can understand you, then you have what you really want is one team working together for the betterment of Tacoma.”

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