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Bret Farrar
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Bret Farrar was an inspiring leader

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar on Nov. 30, 2009. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

I will never forget that awful Sunday in 2009.

I was at the radio station to host our Seahawks gameday coverage. As we were about to go on the air, the horrible bulletins began. There had been a mass shooting in Pierce County. Four Lakewood police officers – Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens, and Greg Richards – had been ambushed in a Parkland coffee shop. It was a brutal mass murder that ripped apart the hearts of everyone in our region.

Of course, this tragedy dominated our airwaves in the days that followed. And midweek, we decided to broadcast my show live on the sidewalk outside the Lakewood PD as people from all around the Northwest came by to drop off donations for a fund for the families of the fallen officers. When I arrived that morning, an officer told me that their chief would like to say hi.

I had never met Bret Farrar. But I had seen him on the news as he displayed incredible leadership in the days following the shooting. He had been listening to our coverage as the people of our region were expressing their sorrow over this senseless tragedy. Without a word being spoken, Chief Farrar walked from behind his desk, wrapped me in a bear hug, and we both began sobbing.

We built a friendship in the years that followed. I will forever be in awe of the leadership Bret displayed in the days, weeks, and months after the shooting. I will forever be grateful for the many conversations we had the past seven years about the Seahawks, about cars, about local politics.

Not only was Bret Farrar a peerless leader, he was also an incredibly funny and warm man. And he was a fighter. He survived open heart surgery and bladder cancer earlier this decade. A couple years ago he called to tell me that he and his wife were moving to Arizona. I prayed for his health and that he would have a well-earned, joyous retirement. But several months ago, cancer once again reared its ugly head. Chief Bret Farrar passed away Tuesday at his home surrounded by friends and family. He was just 59-years-old.

I am grateful that our region had this wonderful man to help shepherd us through an unthinkable tragedy. Rest well, my friend.

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