Retired Lakewood, Pierce County, police Chief Bret Farrar dies at Arizona home

In 2009, a year after he became chief, the department lost four of its own when Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Greg Richards were shot and killed Nov. 29 in a Parkland coffee shop.

A couple years into retirement and eight years after leading the Lakewood Police Department through one of its worst tragedies, Bret Farrar has died.

Surrounded by friends and family, the 59-year-old former chief died Tuesday night at his Arizona home, the department said Wednesday.

He’d suffered from cancer before, and had battled another round of the disease for several months.

Farrar retired in 2015, and said personal challenges were part of that decision.

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“Without a doubt, it has been a long, eventful and amazing ride, and while I’m sad to see it all end, I also know that the time has come to focus on my family and all the things we’ve been dreaming about doing for so many years,” he wrote in his email to the department.

Farrar had had open heart surgery the year before and survived bladder cancer in 2010. His father had recently died, his sister died in 2012 and his wife was struggling with breast cancer when he left the department.

His plans for retirement were to travel and move to Arizona, he told The News Tribune.

Farrar started as a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy in 1988, and joined the Lakewood force in 2004, the year the department was formed. He became chief in 2008.

The next year, the department lost four of its own when Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Greg Richards were shot and killed Nov. 29 in a Parkland coffee shop.

Examples of Farrar’s leadership, following the tragedy:

He brought the whole department with him for his first public address, and he was the first person to place an order at the coffee shop when it reopened.

The union that represents the state’s troopers thought enough of…

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