Special Reports

Police pull officer's gun after report

Tacoma police have pulled an officer's gun and restricted his patrol car privileges after receiving a third-hand allegation accusing him of domestic violence, the department reported Wednesday.

The 37-year-old patrol officer has been assigned to administrative duties while the Pierce County Sheriff's Department conducts a criminal and administrative investigation into the allegation, Tacoma police spokesman Jim Mattheis said.

The officer's girlfriend and her two children received an emergency protection order against the officer Tuesday morning, Mattheis said.

Among the conditions on the order, the officer had to surrender all his firearms to law enforcement authorities. He's also prohibited from "assaulting, harassing or contacting the petitioner in any manner," the order states.

The officer could be arrested if he violates the order.

Police received the allegation Monday and asked the sheriff's department to conduct an investigation. Mattheis declined to give details of the allegation and did not release the officer's name.

The protection order says the officer hit one of the children with a broom handle and keeps the girlfriend under surveillance and intimidates her.

Tuesday, acting Chief Don Ramsdell took the officer's gun and restricted his use of his patrol car. His superiors will watch him closely, Mattheis said.

"We're going to take the domestic violence accusations very seriously," Mattheis said. "Chief Ramsdell's whole theory is we have to regain the public's trust in how we are handling these cases and that we are handling them properly."

The allegation against the officer is the second active domestic violence complaint against a Tacoma police employee. The other concerns a high-ranking official who remains on duty, though closely supervised.

Both complaints have been made since Chief David Brame fatally shot his wife, Crystal, and killed himself April 26.

A third allegation of domestic violence was ruled unfounded, though other aspects of the case are being reviewed, Mattheis said. That officer was placed on administrative leave for other reasons.

The department's handling of domestic violence complaints has been scrutinized since the Brame homicide-suicide.

Over the past two weeks, the agency has released nine sustained Internal Affairs investigations of domestic abuse that involved seven officers and one civilian employee. One case file has yet to be released.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268