TACOMA – The man hired to review a troubled Missouri police department was forced from a position as Tacoma city manager as a result of his actions after a delayed Amber Alert response to a girl’s abduction in 2007.
Tacoma’s council voted in July not to extend former City Manager Eric Anderson’s contract and removed him from office following a string of controversies.
Police said the delayed Amber Alert didn’t factor into the girl’s murder.
In Columbia, Mo., Anderson was hired by his former intern, City Manager Mike Matthes, to review the city’s police department following complaints about its leadership and low officer morale, the Tacoma News Tribune reported.
“Eric’s got a nationwide reputation as one of the best in the business,” Matthes said. “Everyone in the business knows about Eric and his terrific success over many years. He’s kind of famous, really, in the work of city government.”
Columbia City Councilman Jason Thornhill said he’s comfortable with Anderson’s “past history and body of work.”
The delayed Amber Alert from 2007 and subsequent refusals by the Tacoma police chief to address it were central to Anderson’s dismissal. The delay occurred when an officer who got the call fell asleep and didn’t disseminate the requested alert until several hours later.
Tacoma’s police chief and the officer did not publicly disclose the details when asked over several months why it took the department so long to issue the alert.
After the details emerged in court records last year, Anderson defended the officers and initially resisted imposing any discipline or conducting an outside investigation.
In Missouri, Thornhill pushed for the review in response to complaints about Columbia police Chief Ken Burton’s management.
The Columbia Police Officers Association and the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police want Burton fired for his own dismissal of police officer Rob Sanders in September after an incident that left an inmate in a police holding cell with a broken back.
Burton fired Sanders even though an internal investigation had cleared the officer of wrongdoing. The city recently settled a lawsuit filed by the inmate, Kenneth Baker, for $250,000.
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