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'Let's be a trailblazer': New Tacoma police chief wants focus on love, collaboration

The exterior of a building with a glass and off-white brick exterior.
Ted S. Warren
The Associated Press file
Tacoma Police Department headquarters on South Pine Street in Tacoma.

Tacoma has a new police chief — and he has his work cut out for him.

Last month, Chief Avery Moore joined the Tacoma Police Department after a long career in Dallas. He takes over the department as the city saw violent crime increase in 2021 by more than 17 percent compared to the year before. Property crimes are up by nearly 14 percent over that same period. And the department is dealing with a staffing shortage both in patrols and investigations.

Avery Moore, a Black man, wears a Dallas Police Department uniform
Courtesy of City of Tacoma
Avery Moore

Moore will also decide soon whether or not to fire three police officers who are charged in the death of Manuel Ellis, a Black man who was killed during an encounter with the officers in March 2020. Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins are charged with second-degree murder, and Timothy Rankine is charged with first-degree manslaughter. All three have pleaded not guilty.

KNKX South Sound reporter Kari Plog sat down with Moore at Tacoma police headquarters last week to talk about his first month on the job — and the challenges he faces.

Listen to their full conversation above.

Kari Plog is a former KNKX reporter who covered the people and systems in Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties, with an emphasis on police accountability.