Christmas week brought sad news: the passing of retired Spokane police chief Terry Mangan, at age 76 after a long illness. http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2025302256_spokanechiefdiesxml.html
I was privileged to know the man. He was a cop’s cop. I’ve known many police chiefs who sit behind a mahogany desk wearing a gold-bedecked white uniform shirt, perhaps as a symbol of “I don’t have to go out and get dirty anymore,” and a little vestigial gun as a badge of office, if they wore a gun at all. Not Terry; every time I met him, he was wearing BDU pants, a polo shirt with the department logo, and on his hip, the same .40 caliber Glock 22 he issued to his officers.
An ordained clergyman in his first career before taking up police work, he was able to separate church and state while maintaining the values of fairness and kindness that had become a part of him before he pinned on the badge. In his younger days he participated in civil rights marches, and as a chief aggressively recruited minorities and females onto the job – not because it was the politically correct thing to do, but simply because it was the right thing to do. Terry focused on community-oriented policing before it became a buzzword, and worked hard to keep the public positively involved with the police department.
A “gun guy” at heart, Terry could not be seen as such as a public official in one of the most anti-gun cities in America, but he made firearms safety education part and parcel of Spokane’s crime prevention programs. He made sure that genuine self-defense uses of firearms in his city were treated as such. Chief of Spokane for many years, his retirement took him to Quantico where he spent the rest of his career teaching and consulting for the FBI.
In a time when there is a desperate cry for police and public to come together and better understand one another, Terry Mangan would have been the ideal person to lead such a national dialogue. How ironic that we lost him at a time when we needed him the most.
Godspeed, Chief. It was an honor to have known you.