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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sister says officer was devoted to work, community

Sister says officer was devoted to work, community

Tiffiny Ryan, sister of slain Lakewood police Officer Tina Griswold, speaks to the media in Spokane alongside police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick. Ryan works for the Spokane Police (Jesse Tinsley)

The sister of a Lakewood, Wash., police officer shot to death in a coffee shop remembered her as a dedicated officer in a tearful plea Monday for the killer’s capture.

“My worst nightmare has come true,” said Tiffiny Ryan, who works in the records division at the Spokane Police Department.

Flanked by her fiance, Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Beau Vucinich, and Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, Ryan described her sister, Tina Griswold, as “the world to me.” She said she wants the killer “to know what he took from us.”

Griswold was killed Sunday morning with three colleagues as they sat with their laptops preparing for the day.

Spokane police have been told not to do reports or other computer work in public places and to have two officers per patrol car if possible. Kirkpatrick visited with Griswold’s family Sunday night.

“This community wants to wrap their arms around (Ryan),” Kirkpatrick said.

Griswold, whose parents live in Post Falls, has a 7-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter, Ryan said.

Ryan recalled watching the memorial service for slain Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton, who was shot to death in his patrol car Oct. 31.

“Never did I dream that I would be next to suffer the pain and the loss,” she said. “I can’t tell you how painful it is to lose my sister to me. I can’t. I don’t know what the days to come will be like without her.”

Ryan urged the community to push for changes to the criminal justice system to prevent people from being released early from prison. A suspect in the Parkland shootings, Maurice Clemmons, was allowed to walk the streets despite receiving a 108-year prison sentence in Arkansas. He was released early after then-Gov. Mike Huckabee commuted his sentence.

Clemmons was still at large Monday night. Ryan urged anyone who may know where Clemmons is to come forward.

Griswold had worked in law enforcement in Washington state for 14 years, Ryan said, beginning as a dispatcher in Shelton. She worked as an officer there and with the Lacey Police Department before joining the Lakewood police. Kirkpatrick taught her as a police academy student. “Not a day went by that I have not thought how proud I was of her,” Ryan said.

The sisters had talked about the dangers of police work.

Griswold once told her sister that if something were to happen to her on the job, “ ‘I went out doing what I love the most,’ ” Ryan recalled. “And I know that she meant that.”

Griswold was dedicated to the community and fearless when it came to protecting it, her sister said. Ryan recalled a car accident in which the victims drowned in a submerged vehicle.

An officer who responded with Griswold didn’t want to dive in after the bodies, Ryan said.

“ ‘Then watch my gun,’ ” Ryan s her sister saying. She dove in and pulled out the bodies. “She gave over 100 percent at all times to her job.”

Outside of work, Griswold was a “phenomenal cook” who often called Ryan to brag about her great dishes. She also recently bought a dirt bike.

But her dedication to the police force didn’t move her to take much time off.

When Ryan called her sister on Thanksgiving, she was on duty. Ryan asked her why she hadn’t take the day off.

“She said, ‘I didn’t want to leave them shorthanded,’ ” Ryan said.