Special Reports

Claims provide insights into Tacoma police

Tacoma police handled $88.5 million in citizen claims last year but paid out only about $40,000, according to documents released in the David Brame investigation.

Many of the claims were denied and some are pending, according to a review of 330 pages that the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs requested from Tacoma police as part of an investigation into the late police chief's career.

The documents released Wednesday don't appear to provide any new insights into the Brame case, but they do offer a interesting look at the inner workings of the Tacoma Police Department.

The majority of the claims paid, about 89 percent, were connected to officer-involved automobile accidents. Other property damage was listed as the reason for paying another 8 percent of the claims.

A $600,000 claim from a woman who said a slow police response caused her sons to be injured was denied. So was a $35.89 claim from a man who said police damaged one of his doorknobs.

In 2002, citizen complaints about police officer behavior included claims of excessive force, racial profiling and rudeness, among others.

Also last year, the department conducted 26 Internal Affairs investigations, 19 of which originated from within the department.

There were 27 Internal Affairs investigations in 2001 and 62 in 2000, according to the documents.

Also among the documents is a December 1987 letter from police psychologist James Shaw. In the letter, Shaw discusses treating a patient for "stress and anger control."

The patient's name was blacked out.

"He responded well to the therapy and future problems are not anticipated," Shaw wrote.

The documents also include several interdepartment memos that discuss who should pay for treatment for an off-duty officer involved in a drunken driving accident.

Stefano Esposito: 253-597-8644