Brame sworn in as Tacoma Police Dept. Chief

He’s actually been on the job since Monday, when a city clerk officially swore him in, but new Tacoma Police Chief David Brame was the recipient of a more elaborate ceremony at yesterday’s public swearing-in at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Center.

More than 300 people – including city government representatives, Pierce County law enforcement agencies, the Washington State Patrol, Tacoma police officers and retired Tacoma police chiefs – turned out to welcome the department’s 54th chief.

The 43-year-old Brame is a 20-year Tacoma Police Department veteran who most recently served as the assistant chief of operations.

He is taking over for retiring Chief James Hairston.

Brame has a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of Puget Sound and graduated from the FBI National Academy.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frederick Fleming administered the oath of office.

Brame’s wife, Crystal, then pinned the chief’s badge on her husband.

Those who spoke of the city’s new police chief had nothing but praise for the second-generation Tacoma police officer who was born and raised on the East Side.

“This was a very good choice for me,” City Manager Ray Corpuz said, adding he noticed Brame’s attention to detail during their first meetings.

“I know he’ll be one of the best police chiefs we’ve ever had,” he said.

Mayor Bill Baarsma remembered the days when Brame was a student in Baarsma’s public administration class at the University of Puget Sound, where Baarsma taught for 33 years.

“He was a good student, a high achiever,” the mayor recalled. “And in this job you need to be a high achiever.”

Baarsma characterized Brame as someone who understands labor needs and has good management skills.

Those skills will prove invaluable as Brame tackles such challenges as building a new police headquarters and four substations, implementing performance audit recommendations and the signing of a collective bargaining agreement with the police union.

During his speech, Brame described his being appointed chief as a “profound and honorable experience for me.”

“Our high calling is to protect our fellow citizens,” he said, noting that people have rediscovered a sense of and appreciation for public service following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. “That in itself is what we’re all about.”

Brame said the police department would work with the community and local government to get things done, stressing the importance of remembering the police department’s job is to help citizens.

“People before projects. People are more important than projects,” he said. “We can fix what’s wrong with what’s right. What’s right is people.”

Brame credited his family with much of his success, calling them his “support group.”

In addition to his wife, Brame’s two children – 4-year-old David Jr. and 7-year-old Haley – sat with him through the ceremony.

Adding a little family levity to the proceedings, David Jr. said “Thank you!” into the microphone just after his father received a crystal plaque from the Tacoma Police Department.

“I have a great support network,” Brame said, referring not only to his family, but also the members of the police department.

“I’m home and this is where I’ll stay,” he said.