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Tacoma Police Department Statements

Chief Of Police Makes Final Decisions on the Three Tacoma Police Officers

January 16, 2024


Tacoma Police Officers Christopher Burbank, Matthew Collins, and Timothy Rankine have voluntarily agreed to separate from their positions with the Tacoma Police Department.


Meanwhile, except for a sustained finding regarding Officer Collins’ violation of the Tacoma Police Department’s policy on Courtesy, the Officers were cleared based on 2020 policies. The Use of Force policy in place in March of 2020 failed to serve the best interests of the police department or the community. However, because it was policy at the time, it guided my decisions announced today. That policy has since been superseded by a new policy. Additionally, the Tacoma Police Department is actively undergoing a comprehensive overhaul of its policies with support from Lexipol and the Community's Police Advisory Committee (CPAC). Currently, 30 policies have undergone revision, with 10 nearing completion, aligning with the overarching goal of a complete and thorough policy transformation to better serve the community and enhance law enforcement practices. 


While acknowledging our incomplete achievement of reform goals in the past decade, the last two years have witnessed substantial efforts to revolutionize the Tacoma Police Department, placing a strong emphasis on fostering inclusivity and pride among all stakeholders. These strides are a result of a collective endeavor.


I acknowledge the detrimental impact of policing on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, extending both a personal and collective apology. My awareness of the historical context of policing includes acts of oppression, abuse, and dehumanization, all carried out under the color of law. Additionally, I recognize the atrocities spanning the last 30 years up to the present. I am committed to acknowledging and taking responsibility, adamantly refusing to condone or turn a blind eye to such heinous acts.


  • A statement from City Manager Elizabeth Pauli is available here.
  • Publicly available internal investigation records, findings and other related documents are available here.
  • To learn more about the City's broader transformation efforts, click here.

Statement From City Manager Elizabeth Pauli and Police Chief Avery Moore on Next Steps Regarding Tacoma Police Department Officers 

January 10, 2024


We understand the anticipation surrounding the potential disciplinary actions and future of the officers involved in the recent trial. We acknowledge that you – the community we serve – were expecting clear answers within 14 business days, which would be Thursday, January 11.


We share your desire for swift resolution. These past weeks have been filled with questions, and with good reason. This incident has touched many lives, and the community rightfully deserves answers.


We acknowledge the community’s desire for immediate information, however, we are bound to uphold due process, which is everyone’s constitutional right. Internal Tacoma Police Department investigations are now complete, and the officers were officially notified of their right to attend a meeting with the Chief prior to any final decision being made about potential discipline. These meetings are scheduled in the afternoon on Friday, January 12. The Chief’s final decisions will be announced on Tuesday, January 16.


We recognize this waiting period adds another layer of frustration to an already difficult situation. We are moving as quickly as possible while preserving the integrity of the process.


Rest assured, transparency remains our highest priority and we will share every detail allowed by law on Tuesday, January 16.


Tacoma Police Department Statement on the Verdicts
in State of Washington v. TPD Officers Burbank, Collins & Rankine

December 21, 2023


The Tacoma Police Department acknowledges today’s not guilty verdicts in the State of Washington vs. Police Officers Burbank, Collins, and Rankine may exacerbate the pain caused by the death of Mr. Ellis. The past nearly four years have been filled with wide-spread anger, mistrust, and apprehension and have severely divided the people of this city. Even though this criminal process has concluded, TPD’s leadership and the entire department understand there are many questions about where we all go from here, as a city and as a community.


First and foremost, the Tacoma Police Department will continue its commitment to creating a just and transparent model of public safety that builds trust between TPD employees and all community members. This dedication to accountability did not end with today’s verdicts, and the following processes have already begun:


  • Because the not guilty verdicts do not impact the Tacoma Police Department’s internal investigation, it is important for that process to be finalized, independent of the criminal trial.
  • As courthouse testimony concluded December 6, Tacoma Police Department Internal Affairs immediately resumed its internal investigation into the three officers’ conduct on March 3, 2020, to include the officers’ own testimony on the witness stand.
  • Although the criminal trial ultimately resulted in not guilty verdicts, TPD is committed to finalizing its own investigation for administrative completeness regarding potential use of force and courtesy violations.
  • TPD expects to complete its internal investigation within the next 24 hours.
  • Once complete, the results of that internal investigation will be reviewed by Chief Avery Moore.
  • Within 10 business days of the jury announcing its verdict, Chief Moore will make his decision on potential discipline, up to and including termination.
  • If any discipline may include financial impacts to the officers, Chief Moore is bound by law to hold pre-disciplinary (Loudermill) hearings, which he will schedule with the required 72-hour notice.
  • Chief Moore will make any final disciplinary decisions within 14 business days of the verdict.
  • Those decisions will be shared with the public.

No criminal trial will bring Mr. Ellis back to his loved ones. The Tacoma Police Department acknowledges this and the widespread pain this incident caused. Moving forward, TPD will continue its commitment to creating a just and transparent model of public safety that builds trust in TPD’s employees and the City overall.