I. The following terms shall have the meanings given them:


A.      Domestic Violence

(a) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; (b) sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or (c) stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110 of one family or household member by another family or household member.

B.      Family or Household Members

Spouses, former spouses, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons sixteen years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or had dating relationship, persons sixteen years or age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship, and persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.

C.      Dating Relationship

A social relationship of a romantic nature.  Factors that the court may consider in making this determination include:  (a) the length of time the relationship has existed; (b) the nature of the relationship; and (c) the frequency of interaction between the parties.

D.      Essential Personal Effects

Those items necessary for a person's immediate health, welfare, and livelihood.  Essential Personal Effects includes, but is not limited to, clothing, cribs, bedding, documents, medications, and person hygiene items.

E.      Domestic Violence Order for Protection

This is the most commonly requested order.  It is a civil order from the court telling the family or household member who threatened or assaulted the petitioner not to do so again.

A protection order can:

  • order the respondent not to threaten or hurt the petitioner
  • order the respondent not to enter the petitioner's residence
  • give one parent temporary custody of children
  • set a schedule for visitation with minor children
  • order the respondent to leave a shared residence
  • grant the petitioner possession of essential personal effects
  • grant the petitioner use of a vehicle
  • order the respondent to attend counseling.

A protection order cannot:

  • order child support
  • order maintenance (alimony)
  • assign most property to either party
  • establish permanent child custody or use of the shared residence

F.      Restraining Order

This is broader than a domestic violence protection order since it can deal with property issues, child support, spousal support, as well as domestic violence and temporary custody issues.  A restraining order is filed as part of a divorce case, a paternity case, or other family law case.

G.      No-Contact Order

This type of order does not require a petition because it is part of a criminal action. The court will decide whether to issue this order when it determines if the Respondent is to be released on bail or personal recognizance, or when the Respondent is arraigned or being sentenced.  Generally this order does not last as long as a protection order and it does not award custody, establish visitation or order counseling.

H.      Civil Anti-harassment Order

This order typically applies to situations when the persons are not married or related to each other, for example, in disputes between neighbors and in stalking (stranger-stranger) situations. This order is helpful when a person is being harassed but has not been assaulted or threatened with physical harm.

I.      Family Coordinator

The Family Coordinator is assigned by the Chief of Police to act as liaison between advocacy groups and the victim/family.  The Family Coordinator will not participate in either a Criminal or Administrative Investigation. The primary function of the Family Coordinator will be to assist with the victim's safety through advocacy  organizations. This position will be furnished regular training in domestic violence - officer involved issues and will train all employee on policies and related laws.




A.      Supervisors And Employees Will Act Immediately When Notified

When notified of any domestic violence call/incident, whether inside or outside the city, involving an employee of the Tacoma Police Department, the supervisor/employee receiving the information shall immediately notify his/her chain of command or the Command Duty Officer (CDO)/Shift Lieutenant.  In the event the information is about an assistant chief the CDO/Shift Lieutenant will notify the Chief of Police.  If the information concerns the Chief of Police the Command Duty Officer/Shift Lieutenant will immediately notify the City Manager, Mayor, and the Pierce County Prosecutor.

If a domestic violence call/incident rises to the level of criminal activity and occurred within the City of Tacoma, LESA Dispatch will be notified and a supervisor/officers will be dispatched.  A report shall be completed immediately by the employee/officer receiving the information.  This report, which will supplement the officers/supervisors report, must include details on dates, times, location, circumstances, names, officials notified, and actions taken.

When any employee of the Tacoma Police Department receives a call that involves a Tacoma Police Department employee and is criminal in nature but occurred within another jurisdiction, the other jurisdiction, if not already notified, will be notified by the Tacoma Police Chief or his/her designee.  The Tacoma Police Department will advise the other agency of the location, people involved and any other pertinent information the other agency may need for their investigation.  The Tacoma Police Department will also request a copy of all reports generated from the incident.

B.      Initial DV Investigations Require Two Officers And A Supervisor

The Department will send a minimum of two officers and a permanent rank supervisor, preferably of a higher rank than the involved officer, to investigate any officer involved domestic violence call within the City of Tacoma regardless of the involved officer's jurisdiction. If a higher ranking supervisor is not available the CDO/Shift Lieutenant will respond immediately to the scene.

If the incident occurs in another jurisdiction and is a TPD employee involved domestic violence call, a permanent rank supervisor, with the approval of the CDO/Shift Lieutenant, will respond to the scene.  The supervisor will obtain as much information concerning the incident and the officer without interfering with the other jurisdictions investigation and/or the officer/employee rights.

If a supervisor is unable to respond to another jurisdiction, the CDO/Shift Lieutenant or Chief's Office will explain the Department's policy and requirements to the other agency and refer them to their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Tacoma Police Department (if a party to an MOU).  The Department will not condone interference by its employees and will ask the outside agency involved to contact the Chief's Office as soon as practical to report any interference.

Whenever an on-duty Tacoma police officer is investigating the scene of a domestic violence incident, which involves subjects who could cause the officer to experience emotional, political or career pressures such as City Council members, judges or prominent citizens, the officer is to request a supervisor respond to the scene.  Should the supervisor feel subjected to the pressures listed above he/she should immediately call the CDO/Shift Lieutenant for direction including, if necessary, having the CDO/Shift Lieutenant respond to the scene. Upon completion of the preliminary investigation the supervisor will ensure all required documentation is completed.

1.      Responding Officer Duties:

Responding officers shall perform at a minimum the following actions upon their arrival:

  • Obtain medical attention if needed
  • Secure the scene
  • Address the immediate and future safety of the victim(s)
  • Perform an unbiased investigation under the guidance of the responding supervisor and in accordance with RCW 10.99
  • Attempt to locate accused employee if he/she has left  the scene

All involved officers will write supplemental reports.

2.      On Scene Supervisor Duties:

A permanent rank supervisor shall respond to the scene of all domestic violence incidents within the City of Tacoma involving any Department employee, and any other law enforcement officer identified as a suspect.

The supervisor will ensure that the victim's immediate safety needs are addressed.

The supervisor will ensure that any children located at the scene are safe and secure; to include transporting to another location deemed safe by the supervisor, if appropriate.

If needed, will request CID domestic violence detectives through the CDO/Shift Lieutenant or family violence unit coordinator.

The Supervisor will request that Internal Affairs respond to the scene when deemed necessary.

Because a domestic violence victim may recant the allegation of the incident, the supervisor/officers must perform a complete, thorough, preliminary investigation.

The supervisor shall ensure that photographs of the scene are taken when appropriate for evidentiary reasons.

The supervisor will ensure that a thorough and unbiased investigation is conducted and where probable cause exists the supervisor and/or CDO/Shift Supervisor will make the arrest according to Washington State Law, RCW 10.31.100. The supervisor/CDO will physically book the arrested employee.

If probable cause exists to arrest the employee for domestic violence but the employee has left the scene, the on-scene supervisor will notify his/her chain of command or the CDO/Shift Lieutenant of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

If the supervisor/officer decides to not arrest the employee, the circumstances surrounding that decision shall be documented by the supervisor and forwarded to his/her chain of command.

Whenever an officer is arrested, the supervisor shall relieve the accused officer of all service firearms, even if a member of another Department.  If the firearms have not been used in the commission of a crime and are not needed for evidentiary reasons, arrangements will be made to return the service firearm to the appropriate agency.

The supervisor will confiscate personal firearms if they were used in the commission of the crime, were in plain view, or if they were voluntarily relinquished by the involved officer or owner.

All administratively secured weapons will be placed in the Tacoma-Pierce County evidence room.  A firearm (Department and/or personally owned) will only be released to the Chief of Police or his/her designee.  If the arrested subject is the Chief of Police the weapons will only be released to the Pierce County Sheriff or his/her designee.

If an officer of the Tacoma Police Department is arrested, the on-scene supervisor and/or the CDO/Shift Lt. will impose an emergency suspension (MRP #2.09.001VI) on the involved officer and confiscate the officer's service firearm, badge, commission card, and assigned vehicle. The supervisor will inform the employee of the reasons for the action and order the employee to report to the Assistant Chief of that bureau at 0900hrs. on the next regular office day or as otherwise advised by higher authority.  If the next day is not a regular office day, the CDO is responsible for authorizing return to duty.

The Supervisor will ensure that all reports are forwarded through the chain of command to the Chief of Police.

C.      CDO Notifies All Interested Parties Upon Clarification of Situation

If a Tacoma Police Employee is arrested or there is probable cause for an arrest but the employee has left the scene, the CDO/Shift Lieutenant will notify the Chief of Police, Internal Affairs, and the family violence unit coordinator.

If a Law Enforcement Officer other then a Tacoma Police Department employee is arrested and/or there is probable cause for an arrest and the officer has left the scene, the CDO/Shift Lieutenant will notify the involved officer's department.

If the arrested officer is the Chief of Police, the CDO/Shift Lieutenant will notify the City Manager, the Mayor, and the Pierce County Prosecutor.

The CDO/Shift Lieutenant will debrief all involved officers and inform them that confidentiality is of the utmost importance to the investigation as well as the safety of the victim and will prohibit all officers from discussing the incident and/or the whereabouts of the victim except as official police business.

D.      Internal Affairs Will Assist In Ongoing Investigation

Internal Affairs will respond to the scene of all domestic violence arrests of Tacoma Police Department employees within the City of Tacoma and will coordinate its administrative investigation with the Domestic Violence Unit's criminal investigation.

Internal Affairs will administratively investigate all incidents of domestic violence involving Tacoma Police Department employees whether or not it occurred in the City of Tacoma.

If a Tacoma Police Department employee is being investigated criminally, Internal Affairs will not question any of the participants without the approval of the criminal investigator.  The criminal investigation will take precedence.

All investigations shall be in accordance with the employee's labor contract and constitutional rights.

E.      The Family Violence Unit Coordinator Performs Follow Up With Victim(s)

The Family Violence Unit Coordinator shall:

  • Respond to all domestic violence arrests of Tacoma Police Department employees and those officers from other jurisdictions, who are arrested within the City of Tacoma
  • Call out CID Domestic Violence Detectives when needed
  • Act as a liaison between the Department and the victim
  • Explain to the victim the Tacoma Police Department policy as it relates to domestic violence
  • Facilitate contact between the victim and domestic violence advocates and services
  • Ensure the CID Sergeant immediately assigns a detective to the case, unless the Chief of Police assigns the investigation to another police agency, in which case the FVU coordinator will act as liaison to ensure an investigation is completed in a timely and effective manner
  • Ensure that the investigation is unbiased and unobstructed
  • Ensure that the chain of command, to include the Chief of Police, is regularly briefed on both the administrative and criminal investigations.
  • Ensure that all employees of the Tacoma Police Department are trained on the officer involved domestic violence policy and all associated laws.

F.      Departmental Firearms & Property Will Be Seized With Probable Cause

If a Tacoma Police officer is arrested for domestic violence.  An order for protection or a civil anti-harassment order is in existence and/or there is probable cause for an arrest on a domestic violence related offense, the supervisor shall relieve the accused officer of his/her Department service firearm(s).

If an armed officer from another jurisdiction is arrested, all firearms that can be removed legally shall be removed and placed into safekeeping.

Where allowable under State Law or Federal Law, all other firearms owned by or at the disposal of the accused employee may be removed to reduce the victim's risk.  Because the victim may want a firearm for protection, the Department will consider his/her wishes as to the removal of all firearms.




A.      "Life Partners" Academy Provides Skills To Employees & Partners

The Department will implement a "life partners" academy for all new employees and will encourage their "significant other(s)" to attend.  "Life Partners" will help provide employees/officers and their families with realistic information concerning police work and its ramifications on their relationships.

It will also help families recognize any personal issues they may have related to the law enforcement career and provide resources for dealing with these issues.

B.      Department Provides Domestic Violence Prevention Training

The Department will regularly develop training protocols for all Department employees to ensure information relating to domestic violence is being received by employees.

All Department employees will receive mandatory instruction covering various domestic violence topics, which may include the following:

  • Understanding Domestic Violence
  • Department Domestic Violence Officer/Employee Involved Policy
  • Warning Signs of Domestic Violence by Police Officers
  • Victim Safety
  • Local, State, and Federal Domestic Violence Laws
  • Role of Local Domestic Violence Advocates
  • Outreach Programs for Tacoma Police Department Employees
  • Supervisor responsibility in regards to employee/officer domestic violence

The Department shall continuously use a variety of training techniques including in-service training, roll call training, field training officer instruction and training bulletins to regularly reinforce all policies concerning officer/employee involved domestic violence.

C.      Department Will Refer Employees to State Qualified Professionals

The Department will respond to all requests for assistance (whether from the employee or those concerned with the well-being of the employee, themselves, or the employee's children) by referring them to a list of non- punitive, confidential domestic violence state certified professionals for assistance.

Department employees are encouraged and entitled to seek assistance through employee assistance programs and similar counseling functions in an effort to prevent a problem from escalating to the level of criminal conduct against an intimate partner or family member.

The Department shall publish and promote the procedure for seeking confidential internal and external referrals to all officers seeking help in the area of domestic violence.

D.      The Department Will Work With Local Victim Advocacy Groups

The Department will establish and maintain ongoing relationships with victim advocates and domestic violence professionals in the community. These may include shelter staff, hotline crisis workers, social service providers, State approved treatment providers, coordinating councils/coalitions, or others knowledgeable about the challenges facing DV victims.  They can serve as essential partners in effective community policing.

The Department, when requested by local domestic violence victim advocacy organizations, shall provide copies of all domestic violence training curricula, protocols, and policies for review and comment.

The training curricula may include the following:

  • Command notification
  • Cross-jurisdictional policies and protocol
  • General DV investigations and evidence collection
  • Appropriate criminal charges
  • Strangulation investigation
  • Working with victim advocates
  • Dominant aggressor/self defense determination
  • Use and limitation of danger assessment tools
  • Officer safety
  • Confidentiality issues
  • Ethical considerations
  • Criminal and civil liability
  • Firearms removal and seizure

The Department shall provide the opportunity for local domestic violence advocacy groups and approved domestic violence treatment providers to be part of domestic violence training as both trainers and students.

E.      Department Will Ensure Cross-Jurisdictional Cooperation

The Department shall develop cross-jurisdictional cooperation with LESA Dispatch and all surrounding law enforcement jurisdictions to ensure timely notification of any incident involving a TPD officer/employee.

F.      Employee Disclosure Of Domestic Violence Participation Not Entitled To Confidentiality

Any on duty or off duty Tacoma Police Department employee who discloses to any employee of the Tacoma Police Department that they have committed domestic violence against a significant other are not entitled to confidentiality, reporting is mandatory.  The disclosure will initially be reviewed and if required investigated administratively and/or criminally.

The Tacoma Police Chaplains will not have clergy privilege in any incident where a Tacoma Police Employee has committed a crime to include domestic violence as defined by RCW.

Tacoma Police peer group counselors will not have "privileged communications" concerning the disclosure of a crime by a Tacoma Police employee, including domestic violence as defined by RCW 5.60.060 (6A)

The Department will not condone any employee concealing or interfering with domestic violence cases brought against fellow employees.

If a Tacoma Police Employee is served with an "order of protection" and/or a domestic violence/stalking "Civil Anti-Harassment" order, they are required to notify a Tacoma Police Department supervisor immediately.

G.      Employee Domestic Violence Victims Not Required To Report

The Tacoma Police Department does not require employees who are victims of domestic violence to report even if the abuser is a TPD employee. However, they are strongly encouraged to contact a domestic violence advocacy group for assistance if they choose not to report.

H.      Department Shall Train How To Recognize/Report Abusive Behavior

Employees shall be trained on how to recognize abusive behavior potentially indicative of domestic violence.

Employees must report any observed abusive behavior indicative of domestic violence by other employees to their chain of command immediately.

I.      Using Department Resources To Commit Domestic Violence is Prohibited

Any employee, who threatens, harasses, or abuses someone using City resources such as work time, workplace phones, Fax machines, mail, E-mail, or other means shall be subject to corrective or disciplinary action.

The Tacoma Police Department will not tolerate domestic violence against any employee or an employees' significant other while in city offices, facilities, vehicles, or while conducting city business.




A.      Department Will Conduct Separate Investigations

The Department shall conduct separate and parallel administrative and criminal investigations (if crime occurred within the City of Tacoma) of all alleged incidents of domestic violence by an employee of the Tacoma Police Department in a manner that maintains the integrity of both investigations

The Department shall conduct a separate administrative investigation of all allegations of domestic violence occurring outside the jurisdiction of Tacoma by an employee.

The Department will adhere to and observe all procedures to ensure an accused employee's departmental, union and legal rights are upheld during the administrative and criminal investigations.

B.      Internal Affairs Unit Normally Conducts Administrative Investigation

The Department's Internal Affairs Unit will complete the administrative investigation of an employee's domestic violence whether the crime was committed in Tacoma or elsewhere.

However, the Chief of Police may request an outside law enforcement agency conduct the administrative investigation.

If the investigation reveals a violation of policy, the Chief of Police will decide the appropriate discipline, up to and including termination regardless of whether an arrest was made or criminal charges filed.

The City Manager, in consultation with the Mayor and the Pierce County Prosecutor will decide who will perform the administrative investigation when the Chief of Police is the subject of a domestic violence investigation.

C.      Department Will Take Administrative Action With Sufficient Evidence

If after a preliminary investigation there is a reasonable allegation that a TPD employee is involved in a domestic violence incident then the Department will investigate.  During the investigation the Department shall also carry out administrative action which may include placing the accused employee on other assignments such as administrative duties or administrative leave.

The Department will assign the accused employee to duties that do not require response to domestic violence cases pending the administrative and criminal investigations for alleged acts of domestic violence and/or violation of Department policies.

Accused employees will be treated with respect and all contractual agreements will be followed throughout the investigation.

D.      Department Will Investigate and Discipline All Employees Involved

The Department shall investigate and take disciplinary action in cases where the administrative (I/A) or criminal investigation reveals that other employees are improperly and/or illegally involved.  Situations where other employees might be implicated in improper or illegal conduct may include (but are not limited to):

  • Employees with knowledge of an incident of domestic violence who did not report it as provided by this policy
  • Employees who engaged in actions that could reasonably be perceived to interfere with the investigation
  • Employees who by harassment, intimidation cause the victim to abandon the case

The Department shall refer all such matters to the prosecuting attorney for review and possible prosecution.

E.      Domestic Violence Unit Detective Conducts Criminal Investigation

A CID Domestic Violence Unit Detective will investigate criminal allegations involving any Tacoma Police Department employee accused of domestic violence if the incident occurred within the City of Tacoma.  

The Chief of Police may ask an outside law enforcement agency to conduct the criminal investigation.  In the event that the allegations are made against an Assistant Chief(s) or the Chief of Police, the City Manager, the Mayor and the Pierce County Prosecutor will be notified.  The City Manager will decide if the investigation will be handled within the department or given to another law enforcement jurisdiction.

The investigating detective shall conduct criminal investigations involving employees in the same manner as any other criminal investigation.

The investigating detective shall completely investigate the allegations and refer the case for prosecutorial review even if the victim recants.

The investigating detective, in accordance with the employee's and victim's rights, shall ensure sufficient interviews be conducted, to include friends, witnesses and family. Even though an initial report may already exist concerning an employee, reports of any subsequent or additional criminal incidents, which may include other employees engaging in surveillance or intimidation shall be documented separately, assigned a case number, and investigated thoroughly.

The Domestic Violence Unit detective shall work closely with the prosecuting attorney on each case.  This detective shall present all the information to the appropriate prosecuting attorney for action and ask that a decision about the adjudication of the case be made as soon as practical.

Any officer convicted of domestic violence through criminal proceedings shall be dismissed as a police officer for the City of Tacoma.

F.  City, State & Federal Laws Will Be Upheld In All Dismissals

The Chief of Police or designee, upon the decision to dismiss an officer shall do the following in accordance with Department and City personnel policies as well as union rights and state laws:

  • Ensure that the victim is alerted prior to notification of the dismissal and offered available assistance, to include safety planning administered by a qualified domestic violence professional.
  • Inform the officer of available support resources, to include counseling.
  • Notify the Washington State law enforcement certification officials of the termination




A.      All Hires Require Thorough Background Investigation

The Department shall conduct thorough background investigations of all new lateral and entry-level applicants considered for employment.  All applicants shall be questioned about past allegations, arrests and/or convictions of domestic violence, sexual assaults and stalking as well as past and present protective orders.

Prior to promotion, the Department, in conjunction with the LESA director, will conduct an extensive criminal records check on the officers selected for promotion, regardless of rank.

B.      Applicants With a History of Violence Will Not Be Hired

Any applicant considered for employment with a history of committing violence, such as domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, stalking, animal cruelty, sexual assaults, etc., will not be hired.

C.      Department Shall Advise Applicants of Routine Checks on Employees

The Department shall advise applicants considered for employment that computer criminal checks are conducted routinely on employees for possible protection orders.

D.      Applicants Shall Receive a Polygraph Exam and Follow-Up Review

The Department polygrapher will give each applicant considered for employment a polygraph exam.  The polygrapher and assigned background investigator will also conduct a follow-up interview with the applicant.

E.      Applicants Shall Receive a Psychological Exam and Follow-Up Interview

The Department psychologist or psychiatrist will conduct an initial psychological exam and follow-up interview with all applicants considered for employment.  The exam and the interview shall assist the psychologist/psychiatrist in assessing applicants for abusive or controlling tendencies.

F.      All Hiring Requires Joint Staff Approval

The Department will not hire any applicant without a joint meeting of those staff members involved with the applicant, i.e., hiring officer, psychologist/psychiatrist, background investigator, and Human Resources representative.  These members will work in concert to ensure all applicants are suited for a career in law enforcement.




A.      All Victim Information Shall Be Kept Strictly Confidential

The confidentiality and safety of the victim are of the utmost importance to the Tacoma Police Department.

Therefore, if the victim wishes to be placed in an undisclosed "safe home" he/she may use a domestic violence advocacy representative for the transport and placement.  This procedure is to limit the Tacoma Police Department's contact with victims thus enhancing their confidentiality.

Nevertheless, those employees who do have contact with victims shall keep all information concerning them confidential, including their whereabouts and safety plans.

B.      Department Will Connect Victims With Advocacy Agencies

The Department shall work with community resources and advocacy agencies to connect victims, families and children with appropriate services.

C.      Family Violence Unit Coordinator Acts as Department Liaison to Victims

Family Violence Unit Coordinator shall assist the victim by ensuring that a safety plan and a lethality report are completed by a domestic violence advocate/professional.

D.      All Department Employees Will Watch For Suspect Activity

Through regular training, Department personnel shall be made aware of the increased danger to victims when they leave an abusive partner and/or when the Department terminates an employee.  The family violence unit coordinator and the domestic violence advocate liaison shall caution the victim to be alert and report stalking activities on the part of the abuser.

Employees shall also be aware of possible witness or victim intimidation. Whenever employees suspect this is occurring, they shall immediately contact their supervisor, prepare a report and immediately deliver it through their chain of command to the Chief of Police.

E.      Other Employees Will Not Accompany Suspects To Court Proceedings

Tacoma Police Department Employees will not accompany police officers/employee suspects to any domestic related court proceedings while on duty unless subpoenaed to appear or ordered to do so by their chain of command.  If appearing while off duty they will neither carry nor display any Tacoma Police Department equipment to include assigned firearms(s) or insignias on their person, concealed or not. They must be aware of the fact that their mere presence in domestic violence related actions may appear intimidating to the victims.

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