Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell has made some changes to his command staff, eliminating two positions and reinstating an assistant chief’s post.
Ramsdell said he worked within his existing budget to make the changes.
The chief promoted Capt. Pete Cribbin, 53, to assistant chief of the Administrative Bureau Services. Cribbin, who has been with the department for nearly 25 years, had been assigned to the community policing division. He started his new assignment Monday.
Cribbin joins Assistant Chiefs Mike Ake and Kathy McAlpine in overseeing the department’s three bureaus.
To make the move, Ramsdell axed a lieutenant and a sergeant position. The sergeant’s position had been vacant. Ramsdell chose not to fill the lieutenant’s position after that person was promoted to captain as Cribbin’s successor.
The moves come in the midst of a bleak financial outlook for the city, which faces a $12 million deficit in its current two-year budget. Another $60 million to $65 million shortfall has been forecast for the 2013-14 general fund budget.
Ramsdell said he realizes the promotions and other moves could be changed, depending on what happens with budget talks. However, he said he needed to make the changes now to address current issues and to continuing to improve the department.
“That is what we are trying to do,” Ramsdell said.
To cut costs, he had gone down an assistant chief position in January. At the time, two of the department’s three assistant chiefs – Richard McCrea and Bob Sheehan – had taken buyouts from the city and retired.
He decided to bring back the assistant chief position, starting this month, to provide adequate oversight of the department’s three bureaus.
“We just needed to restore that position because of workload, oversight issues,” Ramsdell said last week.
City Councilwoman Victoria Woodards, who chairs the Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee, said she supported Ramsdell’s moves. It’s up to him to determine how to run his department smoothly, she said.
“I am completely confident in the chief to make the right decision with the resources he has,” Woodards said. “An assistant chief of Administrative Services - that’s pretty important work.”
The chief said Cribbin has a keen sense of the Administrative Services Bureau, which oversees hiring, training, accreditation and Internal Affairs. He’s also been working to advance the department’s use of crime analysis and other data-driven strategies to address crime problems.
“He will be instrumental in helping us move forward,” Ramsdell said.
The assistant chief, lieutenant and sergeant positions were not the only moves Ramsdell made recently.
“We are trying to find greater efficiencies, especially at the command level,” the chief said. He reduced the number of lieutenants in the Investigation Bureau to two from three.
The chief also eliminated the department’s long-standing command-duty officer program, which called for lieutenants and captains to rotate through Friday and Saturday night shifts. To replace the program, he added a lieutenant to the swing and graveyard shifts. Now there are two lieutenants on each shift.
The change provides for more continuity during patrol shifts and gives patrol lieutenants flexibility to deploy their officers to address crime trends and patterns in the city, Ramsdell email@example.com