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Sunday, May 30, 2010

[WA] Little noticed 2003 article worth sharing: "Don't hate me just because I'm a Tacoma police officer"


Don't hate me just because I'm a Tacoma police officer, local man says

[Written a few weeks after Tacoma Washington Police Chief David Brame committed murder-suicide on his estranged wife Crystal. The article is no longer online at the original publication site so has been hosted on Google Docs. The officer chose to make his name public back then, but here on the blog I'm using initials because it's a time gone by - a very hard time - and this blog gets picked up and listed high in Google Search results. I'm not trying to make a scene. I'd just like to share what I feel is an unusually rare kind of writing - an officer writing publicly after a crime by his chief. 

Our area was so traumatized by this heinous crime that many people were saying things folks don't normally say out loud.

Excerpts:

LAKEBAY RESIDENT AND TACOMA POLICE DEPARTMENT PATROL OFFICER [D.W.] WANTS THE COMMUNITY TO KNOW THAT RANK-AND-FILE COPS SHARE THEIR CONCERNS THAT THE TPD ADMINISTRATION HAS NOT COME COMPLETELY CLEAN ABOUT WHAT IT KNEW OF POLICE CHIEF DAVID BRAME'S PAST. THAT, HE SAID, IS WHY SO MANY OF THE LEAKS TO THE PRESS - INCLUDING ALLEGATIONS OF RAPE [COMMITTED BY BRAME] AND CRYSTAL BRAME'S 911 PHONE CALL - WERE MADE BY REGULAR OFFICERS. THOSE INTENTIONS, HOWEVER, SEEM TO HAVE BACKFIRED AGAINST THE VERY OFFICERS WHO WERE TRYING TO BLOW A WHISTLE ON THE SYSTEM... THE LEAKS, EXPOSING THE PERFIDY OF ONE, HAVE NOW LED TO THE STEREOTYPING OF THE MANY, MUCH TO THE CHAGRIN OF HE AND HIS TACOMA COLLEAGUES. HE SAID THAT TACOMA POLICE ARE BEING TARGETED BY CYNICS AND CRITICS ON CALL-IN RADIO SHOWS, NEWSPAPER LETTERS PAGES AND OUT IN THE STREETS... [D.W.] SAID THAT MANY CRITICISMS OF THE POLICE ARE MISGUIDED. HE POINTS AT HOW THE POLICE HAVE BEEN CALLED "TRAINED KILLERS" OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS, LABELING THEM AS WIFE-BEATERS BECAUSE OF THEIR TRAINING. [D.W.] SAID THE LABEL IS A MISNOMER. "THEY'RE NOT TEACHING US TO POP PEOPLE IN THE HEAD," HE SAID. CALLING POLICE OFFICERS "TRAINED MANIPULATORS" IS A BETTER DESCRIPTION OF WHAT THE JOB ENTAILS... IN THE CONTEXT OF THE DAY-TO-DAY WORK THAT OFFICERS DO, MANIPULATION IS AN ESSENTIAL SKILL... THE PRESSURE ON OFFICERS IS INTENSE... THERE IS OFTEN A SENSE OF MACHISMO THAT PREVENTS OFFICERS FROM TAKING PART IN COUNSELING SESSIONS. BUT, HE SAID, THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR TURNING THAT PRESSURE AND PAIN AGAINST ONE'S FAMILY. MOST COPS DON'T, HE CLAIMS... HE FEELS BETRAYED BY BRAME, A MAN HE ONCE THOUGHT OF AS A FRIEND, AND WONDERS AT HOW BRAME KEPT HIS APPARENT LONG HISTORY OF VIOLENT PROCLIVITIES TOWARD WOMEN SECRET FROM SO MANY "INVESTIGATOR" TYPE PEOPLE - HIMSELF INCLUDED. ONLY ONCE, [D.W.] SAID, DID HE EVER SEE ANY INDICATION THAT SOMETHING WAS AMISS BETWEEN THE BRAMES. IT CAME DURING A MOMENT WHILE BRAME WAS BEING SWORN IN AS CHIEF, IN DECEMBER 2001 AND CRYSTAL WAS SITTING NEXT TO HIM. "SHE LAUGHED OUT LOUD AND I NOTICED HIM LOOK AT HER AND SHE STOPPED," HE SAID. BOTH THE INTENSITY OF BRAME'S LOOK — AND THE ABRUPTNESS WITH WHICH [D.W.] SAID CRYSTAL STOPPED LAUGHING — STRUCK A FAMILIAR CHORD WITH THE VETERAN BEAT COP. "IT SEEMED KIND OF WEIRD," HE SAID. BUT IT WAS OVER IN A FEW SECONDS, AND DROWNED OUT IN HIS MEMORIES BY THE MANY YEARS OF MORE PLEASANT EXPERIENCES HE'D HAD BEFORE WITH THE DAVID BRAME HE SAYS HE KNEW BETTER — THE ADMIRABLE OFFICER AND CAPABLE ADMINISTRATOR. "HE STABBED US IN THE BACK," [D.W.] SAID.
[police officer involved domestic violence oidv intimate partner violence (IPV) abuse law enforcement public safety fatality fatalities mental health murder washington state jail]

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