He’s been the voice of the Tacoma Police Department for eight years, filling in the media and concerned community members about crime around town.
On Friday, department spokesman Mark Fulghum finished his last day as a police officer and entered retirement. He is one of 17 cops who took a buyout from the city in an effort to protect other people’s jobs during tough budget times.
“This allows one of the new officers to keep their job, and I was on my way out,” said Fulghum, who originally had plans to retire next year. “It was just time.”
Fulghum joined the department as a patrol officer in May 1980. He worked as a school liaison officer, did a brief stint in the traffic division and returned to patrol before becoming the public information officer in 2004.
It’s a job he volunteered for, but not one he always cherished.
Being on call for nights, weekends and holidays took time away from his family, which is something Fulghum said he is looking forward to rectifying. Then there was the time he was reprimanded for falling back to sleep instead of issuing an Amber Alert for missing girl Zina Linnik in the early hours of July 5, 2007. A convicted sex offender later confessed to killing the girl not long after snatching her, and investigators said they didn’t think Fulghum’s mistake led to her death.
Overall, though, he said the gig was good to him.
Fulghum said he liked meeting different people – “most of them good” – and enjoyed the ever-changing flow of news.
He spent his last day with the department clad in a Hawaiian shirt, cleaning out his office, returning equipment and saying goodbyes.
There are things he wants to do: travel, fish, “improve a very bad golf game,” hang out with his wife, two children and grandson.
“I’ll just see what comes along and where I go,” Fulghum said.
Taking his place as department spokesperson is officer Loretta Cool, a 28-year veteran with Tacoma police.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653