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Chief of Police Recruitment

The City of Tacoma is seeking an experienced, transformational leader
to serve as its next Chief of Police for the Tacoma Police Department.  


December 28, 2020 Update from City Manager Elizabeth Pauli:

At this morning’s Special Meeting of the City Council, I shared my appointment of Assistant Chief Mike Ake as Interim Police Chief, effective January 1, 2021. 

I want to thank Chief Don Ramsdell for his 35 years of faithful service to Tacoma and for his many contributions, including over 17 years as Chief of Police. 

Our search process for a new chief included an unprecedented level of engagement from both the community as well as City of Tacoma employees, including the members of the Tacoma Police Department.  I watched, listened to and considered all of the input received from all sources.

A primary factor informing my decision to appoint Mike Ake as Interim Police Chief, was the Tacoma Police Department’s need to respond to two critical community needs; the need for immediate structural change to support community-led antiracist transformation efforts, and the need for continuity in responding to high levels of calls for service.  I am confident that Mike Ake is the candidate best positioned to do both these things, and to serve our community during this critical juncture in the transformation of policing in the City for Tacoma. 

Mike Ake’s interim designation reflects and respects the thread of concern we have observed throughout this process about the ability of an internal candidate to drive transformational change. It positions us to adapt to the long-term vision of policing and community safety that is still to be fully defined through our community-led antiracist transformation efforts.

Please join me in supporting Chief Ake’s successful transition to this new role, and in helping transform our organization and community.  


Watch the community event held on Monday, December 7, 2020 here. The Q&A With the City Council held during the Tuesday, December 8, 2020 City Council Study Session is available here.

Meet the Finalists


Michael Ake

Michael Ake

Michael Ake is currently the Assistant Chief of the Administrative Services Bureau for the Tacoma Police Department, where he has served since 1989. He is also the Director of Personnel and Policy (holding the rank of Colonel) in the Washington National Guard. Assistant Chief Ake holds a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University and a second Master of Arts degree in Strategic Studies from the Army War College. 








Michelle Bennett

Michelle Bennett

Michelle Bennett is currently a Major in the King County Sheriff's Office, where she has served since 1990. She has also served as the Chief of Police for the cities of Maple Valley and Sammamish. Major Bennett holds a Doctorate degree in Education from Seattle University and a Master of Science in Organization Development from Central Washington University.










Dwayne Joseph

Dwayne Joseph

Dwayne Joseph is currently a Lieutenant in the Tacoma Police Department, where he has served since 1989. He began his career as a Police Patrol Officer and has also held the rank of Police Sergeant. Lieutenant Joseph holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Central Washington University. 











Jason Lando

Jason Lando

Jason Lando is currently the Police Commander for the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, where he has served since 2000. Prior to becoming a Police Officer, he worked as a ground and flight paramedic. Commander Lando holds a Master's degree in Legal Studies and Criminal Justice from California University of Pennsylvania. 










Von Narcisse

Von Narcisse

Von Narcisse is currently a Police Captain at the Yale University Police Department in New Haven, Connecticut, where he has served since 2007. He also served as a Police Officer for the Tacoma Police Department from 1998 to 2007. Captain Narcisse holds a Bachelor's degree in Social and Criminal Justice from Montana State University.










Wendell Shirley

Wendell Shirley

Wendell Shirley is a retired Police Captain from Santa Monica Police Department, where he served from 1993 to 2019. He is currently teaching classes on administration of justice at Los Angeles Mission Junior College. Captain Shirley holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from California State University, Northridge. 









Position Information

Search Committee

Tadd Wille, Search Committee Chair, City Manager’s Office

Det. Henry Betts, Tacoma Police Union, Local #6

Tory Green, Tacoma Fire Chief

Hermenia Jackson, Project PEACE Executive Committee

Mia Navarro, Office of Equity and Human Rights

Diana Parra, Commission for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

Diane Powers, Office of Equity and Human Rights

Shayna Raphael, Community's Police Advisory Committee

Council Member James Rideout, Puyallup Tribe

Capt. Shawn Stringer, Tacoma Police Management Association, Local #26

Lt. Chris Travis, Tacoma Police Department



Shelby Fritz, Assistant Human Resources Director

Lynn Stehr, Human Resources Analyst

Cloie Wonderly, Human Resources Specialist



Please contact Shelby Fritz at sfritz@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 328-1306.