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Transforming Tacoma

Transformation at the City of Tacoma

Comprehensive Change that Fundamentally Enhances the Way We Operate as an Organization

As a community, and as a nation, we are living in historic times. One often hears that "transformation" is needed. But what does that really mean? At the City of Tacoma, when we say that, we are talking about "systemic transformation". 

Systemic Transformation
For us, that means comprehensive change that fundamentally enhances and radically re-imagines the way we operate as an organization and, ultimately, the way we serve you.

Right Now, We Are Working to Analyze All Aspects of Our Organization 

Where there are interlocking, interrelated moving components, we are looking at how they work independently and in conjunction with one another. Where additional information is needed, we are conducting the research necessary to obtain that information.


We Are Committed to a Data-Driven, Community-Led Process Informed by Experts

Because for true "systemic transformation" to happen we must work with our community to look at all of it, including root causes, in great detail. This will be a data-driven, community-led process that is informed by experts.

We must analyze what we stand for as an organization, and ensure that the services we provide equitably serve every member of our community, including Black community members and other community members of color.

We must evolve. It is time.


Making Change to Create an Equitable and Anti-Racist Tacoma

In June 2020, the Tacoma City Council passed Resolution 40622This resolution formally acknowledges that the City of Tacoma’s existing systems have not adequately served the needs of everyone in our community and, in particular, have not adequately served the needs of Black community members and other community members of color. 


It affirms the City of Tacoma’s commitment to improving existing systems for all community members, with the first stated priority being local policing. It also requires specific directions for the City Manager to follow. 


What Resolution 40622 Directs the City Manager To Do

Resolution 40622 Directs the City Manager to:

  • Keep anti‐racism as a top priority in the process of budget development and prioritize anti‐racism in the planning of an economic recovery strategy following COVID‐19; and
  • Prioritize anti‐racism in the evaluation of new policies and programs as well as the sustained and comprehensive transformation of existing services, with initial priority being given to policing; and
  • Assess the current state of systems in place at the Tacoma Police Department in consultation with police reform experts, with specific attention to how current policies, staffing levels, training, and accountability systems align to create just outcomes and use this assessment as a foundation for the work of comprehensive transformation; and
  • Actively seek and implement interim administrative changes and process improvements that can legally be taken immediately to improve transparency and accountability in policing; and
  • Work with the City Council to build a legislative platform at the local, state, and federal level that transforms institutions impacted by systemic racism for the greater equity and well-being of all residents of Tacoma, Washington state, and the United States.


City Manager Will Also Provide Regular Systems Transformation Updates

At City Council Study Sessions, City Manager Elizabeth Pauli, will be providing weekly updates to the Council and the public on the status, recent accomplishments, what is in progress or what is up next, and will provide links to detailed reports on the work the City is doing for transforming Tacoma. 


View the City Manager's Weekly Update Reports

Here are the weekly reports from the City Manager, Elizabeth Pauli, on System Transformation Updates presented at the City Council Study Session.


Presentation Date Link to the PowerPoint
September 15, 2020 Presentation (English)
September 1, 2020  Presentation (English)
August 25, 2020  Presentation (English)
August 18, 2020 Presentation (English)
August 11, 2020 Presentation (English)
August 4, 2020 Presentation (English)
July 28, 2020 Presentation (English)



City Council Priorities Established to Guide the Development of City Processes

Along with passing Resolution 40622, the Tacoma City Council also established Council Priorities in early 2020. These priorities guide decisions about how to respond to the impacts of COVID-19, how to spend the City’s budget, how we partner with our community, and how we develop City processes. Our priorities begin with Tacoma 2025, the City of Tacoma’s Strategic Plan, which captured the vision of more than 2,000 community members. To help guide City of Tacoma decision-making, especially during a crisis or budget deficit, they identified the essential services needed to create and maintain a high quality of life for all Tacoma residents. 


Council Priority: Community Safety  Council Priority: Health Council Priority: Housing Council Priority: Access  Council Priority: Livable Wage Jobs Council Priority: Belief and Trust


Previous Reform Efforts in Tacoma Have Served as National Models

In the past, the City of Tacoma’s reform efforts have served as a model for other cities across the nation, including the establishment of the Human Rights Commission, the Community's Police Advisory Committee, the Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, and the Office of Equity and Human Rights. It also included the launch and continuation of the Project PEACE initiative as well as the creation of the Equity Index as a guide to policy making.

Help Shape Tacoma’s Future

Today, we have arrived at a critical juncture. As we grapple with the pressing public health, economic and civil rights issues of our time, we need your help.

Many of you have weighed in with your thoughts and ideas throughout our process to develop the City of Tacoma's 2021-2022 Biennial Budget, and we thank you for that.

Your ongoing engagement is vital as we move forward.


Upcoming Events/Community Feedback Opportunities

Community Events 

We know residents of our city have long been committed to anti-racism work and so we want to hear from you. We want to work alongside you. Transformation can only happen through dialogue, engagement, and learning—together.


Community Conversation Discussing Body-Worn Cameras for Tacoma Police 

A community conversation was held on August 13, 2020 and was titled "Body-Worn Cameras for Tacoma Police: A Community Conversation" and anyone from the community was invited to attend.

Starting in January 2021, the City of Tacoma will begin to require Body-Worn Cameras to be worn by the Tacoma Police Department (all uniform and police officers). Body-Worn Cameras are used by law enforcement to record interactions (both audio and visual) with the community and to gather video evidence at crime scenes.


At this Community Conversation, hosted by Tacoma's Community's Police Advisory Committee (CPAC), the City of Tacoma gave a presentation on Body-Worn Cameras and then the attendees broke out into groups to provide feedback on the program.


Coming Soon--Upcoming events and opportunities will be posted here when available.