The small City of Roy has a new police chief – its fifth since 2006.
The city of about 800 people had nobody acting as chief, and was down to one patrol officer, for a full year.
Darwin Armitage, who started work last week, said he plans to stick around “as long as (the city) will have me.”
The 51-year-old comes to Roy from the El Paso Police Department in Texas. He spent 28 years there as an officer, detective, sergeant and lieutenant before retiring in 2010.
He moved to the Puyallup area with his wife, Sonia, a retired El Paso police lieutenant, to be closer to family in the area, he said.
The job leading the small Roy police force seemed a good fit, he said.
“The big thing about Roy right now is that they need somebody who’s going to be part of the community, not apart from the community,” Armitage said. “My goal is to be that guy who’s out there not just pounding the streets as an officer, but also being a part of the community – listening to concerns and trying to solve (them).”
Armitage comes to a city that has had an unstable police force since 2006, when Chief John Hawk retired under pressure and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department was asked to provide coverage for three months.
In 2007, Police Chief Kurt Ikemeier resigned after less than a year in the post. Ikemeier had been hired to rebuild the department, but like Hawk was asked to step down by the mayor at the time.
Roy’s most recent permanent police chief was Pedro Rosario, hired in 2007. He also was in the Army Reserves, and his military duties took him away from the city. Rosario hasn’t been back since 2008 and officially resigned late last year.
For much of the time Rosario was gone, a Roy officer – Jeff Prouty – filled in as acting chief. He left the city last May.
Roy has been without a chief since then. Officer Dan Rozier has patrolled the city, and sheriff’s deputies have picked up calls when he’s off duty.
Roy Mayor Karen Yates said the new police chief brings skills and knowledge to the position.
“He’s community oriented,” she said of Armitage. “I am absolutely thrilled that we’ve got a man of his caliber and integrity. I am expecting great things from him.”
Armitage will make $3,500 a month in the post.
He said one of his goals is to rebuild the reserve officer program.
He said he’ll be visible in the community, regularly eating lunch at the elementary school and building relationships with residents and merchants.sara.schilling @thenewstribune.com 253-552-7058 blog.thenewstribune.com/street @TNTschilling