Roy’s police chief is set to retire.
During the city council’s first meeting in nearly eight months — the stall brought on by gathering restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — Mayor Anthony McDaniel told the council that Chief Darwin Armitage had submitted his retirement papers and is set to leave the department sometime within the next month or so.
A candidate is currently being lined up for Armitage’s replacement and is already currently in the “hiring process,” McDaniel said during a remote meeting the council held on Monday night. The goal is to have the candidate ready to meet the city council at the Dec. 14 meeting.
“Even though his time is not up, I want to go on record and say that chief, I thank you for standing next to me and being with me while I have been involved with the city, and I want to thank you on an almost 42-year career,” McDaniel said. “That is astounding. You’ve never wavered, you’ve always stood beside me, and I appreciate that as a chief of police, but I more so respect it as my friend, and I thank you.”
Council members Harvey Gilchrist, Leon Garrison and Shane Crisler also provided warm words on the chief’s departure.
“I want to thank you for all you’ve done and the leadership and mentorship you’ve provided me. I just want to tell you thank you,” Gilchrist said.
Armitage was hired by former Roy Mayor Karen Yates in May 2012, according to a former Nisqually Valley News article, and has served the department for more than eight years. For more than a year before his hiring, the department had operated with only a single police officer.
It was something of a tumultuous time for the small police department, which had cycled through five police chiefs in the six years before Armitage came on.
The chief brought with him 28 years of service with the El Paso Police Department in Texas. After retiring from the department in 2010, he moved to Washington state to be closer to family.
“It’s been an honor and it’s been a privilege to serve the citizens of Roy,” Armitage told the council. “It’s been eight and a half plus years that I’ve been here with this community, and I can only say that I’ve had so much wonderful support from the mayor and from council and from staff, and it means a lot to me that I can leave this department better than when I got it, and that’s the God’s honest truth.”
Armitage said there should be a lot to look forward to with the “new guy,” and that the officers that have left Roy have gone on to do good things.
McDaniel again praised Armitage during the meeting, noting that he was leading his department on getting ahead on installing body cameras for those on patrol. The city is anticipating that either the state or attorney general’s office will enact a mandate on body cameras.
“I have to say Roy was out in front of everybody in Pierce County,” he said. “I’ve had cities in Pierce County reaching out to me, they wanted to know how we did this without spending so much money.”
McDaniel said the action on part of Amitage got applause from a federal judge for being ahead of the curve.
Armitage did not respond to a Tuesday morning email requesting comment.