Special Reports

City manager should consider removing Ramsdell, says mayor

Tacoma City Manager Jim Walton "should seriously consider" whether interim Police Chief Don Ramsdell should remain at the helm during an internal investigation into his department, Mayor Bill Baarsma said Monday.

"Ramsdell is the genuine article" and he's been doing an excellent job as acting chief, but Ramsdell might need to step down for the public to feel the city is moving forward, Baarsma said.

But Walton and several other City Council members said they'd prefer to wait until after the upcoming internal investigation to see where the department needs to go.

Ramsdell, who has not been officially implicated in any wrongdoing, could not be reached for comment.

"Everything I know about Don Ramsdell is that he has been encouraging and positive," Councilman Mike Lonergan said.

"If there was an issue in the top level command at the Tacoma Police Department, there has been quite a changing of the guard for various reasons" over the last several months, he added.

State investigators Monday said they have questions for Ramsdell.

They want to know why he let then-assistant chief Catherine Woodard take items from her office after being placed on administrative leave. Woodard removed a refrigerator and boxes. Investigators don't know what was in the boxes.

Office staff members and the Police Department's assistant city attorney, Tom Orr, helped Woodard move things out of her office. Ramsdell was acting chief at the time.

Ramsdell, an 18-year department veteran, was appointed acting chief May 1. He succeeded Woodard, who served a few days as acting chief until being placed on leave pending an investigation of her involvement in his divorce.

Walton elevated Ramsdell to interim chief on July 25.