In David Brame's inbox, messages of support

E-mails: Colleagues offered encouragement to police chief during contentious divorce

June 14, 2003 

As word spread about his divorce, Tacoma Police Chief David Brame received encouragement from two members of his department and a retired police officer he didn't know.

"I know you to be a strong and upright individual and I hope that you will be able to emerge from these trying times without too many emotional scars," Lt. Mike Miller wrote in an e-mail to Brame at 12:35 p.m. April 26.

Brame wasn't in the office that Saturday and it's unclear whether he read the e-mail. Less than three hours after getting it, he fatally shot his wife, Crystal, then himself in a Gig Harbor parking lot.

Since the shootings, questions have arisen about Brame's career, his marriage and how he rose to be the city's top cop despite a tainted past.

Miller's e-mail and the two others were sent to Brame's department e-mail account.

The City of Tacoma released the e-mails Friday as part of a nearly 3-inch stack of documents in response to a News Tribune public disclosure request.

Most of the e-mails detail training schedules, recurring issues in the community such as abandoned vehicles, overnight debriefings from patrol commanders and department initiatives.

The chief responded to few of the e-mails he received.

Officer Bart Hayes wrote Brame just after 2:30 p.m on April 17.

Saying he'd recently gotten divorced, Hayes added, "It is not something I would wish on anybody."

Hayes recommended an attorney and provided a phone number.

"If you ever want to discuss it in confidence, let me know," Hayes concluded.

On April 22, a city employee forwarded Brame the Web article first publicizing details of his contentious divorce, including allegations of abuse. Brame was out of town at the time.

James McKenna read a story on the Web about Brame's divorce and wrote the chief at 8:03 p.m April 25.

"I am very sorry to say your home situation was posted right up there with all the world events," McKenna wrote. "When I was in patrol I gave many males like you some good advice over domestics."

In his e-mail, Miller told Brame he'd been doing a good job as chief and had his support.

"I am writing to let you know that I consider the allegations of your physical abusiveness and threats to be patently false. It is beyond my comprehension that you would do such things."

Miller added: "You have a lot of friends and, perhaps equally as important, a lot of co-workers, who believe in the example you have set over the years and are proud to stand up on your behalf."

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268

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