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Executive Profile

Don Ramsdell joined the Tacoma Police Department in June 1985 as a patrol officer and has advanced through the ranks of the department to his current position.  He has been the police chief since 2003, and is the longest standing police chief in department history.

Ramsdell served in each of three department bureaus and has also served as the commander of the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) and the department’s Clandestine Laboratory Team.  He has earned numerous commendations and departmental awards, to include Officer of the Year for 2000.

As the police chief, Ramsdell is responsible for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the administrative and operational activities of the department.  He must assure effective protection of life, property, and liberty of the citizens the police department serves.  This is accomplished through various means, to include enforcement of state and local laws, crime prevention, and education strategies.

Ramsdell is responsible for a biennial operating budget of $143 million and has oversight of over three hundred commissioned and non-commissioned employees.

Ramsdell has led the department through an organizational change effort by developing the department’s first Strategic Business Plan, which includes a new mission, vision, strategic priorities and related goals. Under his leadership, the Tacoma Police Department attained national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in 2010, the first time in the department’s history.

Ramsdell is a member of the City of Tacoma's Executive Leadership Team and currently serves on the City's Training and Career Development Advisory Committee.  He also has extensive experience in labor relations and contract negotiations, as the Tacoma Police Department is represented by six separate bargaining units.

Ramsdell is a graduate of the FBI National Executive Leadership Institute and the International Association of Police Chiefs Advanced Tactical Management For Commanders.  He is also a graduate of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission Command College, Executive Leadership and Agency Administration Programs.

  • B.A. in Urban Affairs, University of Puget Sound
  • FBI National Academy Law Enforcement Executive Leadership Development

Professional Memberships
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC)
  • Pierce County Police Chiefs Association, President 2007-2013
  • FBI Law Enforcement Executive Leadership Development Association
Chief Don Ramsdell 

Don Ramsdell

Police Chief