Kathy McAlpine won't be returning to the Tacoma Police Department after nearly five years as Tigard's chief of police.
On Tuesday night, Dec. 7, the Tacoma City Council voted to hire another candidate for the chief position in Washington's third-largest city. McAlpine had been a finalist for that job along with three other candidates, including Avery Moore — an assistant police chief in Dallas, Texas, whose hiring was approved Tuesday. He will begin work in Tacoma in January.
For McAlpine, being hired as Tacoma's police chief would have been a homecoming. She worked at the department for more than 30 years, rising through the ranks to become assistant chief, before she was hired to become Tigard's police chief in early 2017.
Last month, McAlpine visited Tacoma and met with city officials and community members as part of an extensive vetting process. At the time, she told Pamplin Media Group that while she was interested in the chance to lead the Tacoma Police Department, she would be happy to remain in Tigard as well.
McAlpine reiterated that sentiment on Tuesday before the meeting, as it was apparent the City Council would vote to approve Moore's hiring instead.
"I am good with the outcome," McAlpine told Pamplin Media Group. "I am very happy in Tigard. I have spoken to Chief Moore and I fully support him and wish him success."
Tacoma Deputy Mayor Keith Blocker said at Tuesday's meeting that there were several highly qualified individuals whom the city could have selected. But he described the hiring of Moore — who is Black — a monumental moment, and historic as well.
Blocker noted that Tacoma has had to deal with issues of excessive force and bias on the part of police.
Three Tacoma police officers were arrested in May on homicide charges in connection with the death of Manuel Ellis, a Black man who died after being struck, Tasered and knelt on by police officers in March 2020 — weeks before George Floyd was killed in similar fashion in Minneapolis that May, an incident that sparked nationwide protests and led to one officer's conviction for murder.
"We have a lot of things to work on, and leadership is extremely important," said Blocker on Tuesday.
Other candidates vying for the Tacoma chief position included Michael D. Carroll, who recently retired from the Alameda County Sheriff's Department in San Leandro, California, and Sean Case, a captain for internal affairs, patrol, administrative and inspection divisions for the Anchorage Police Department in Alaska.
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