Lakewood's Police Department has been around for just five years.

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Sunday’s tragedy rocked a police agency that has been in existence for only five years.

Lakewood, a city of nearly 60,000, was incorporated in 1996, but contracted for law-enforcement services with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office until 2004, when Lakewood created its own police department.

According to its Web site, the Lakewood Police Department has 123 staff members including 120 commissioned officers, eight community-service officers, two animal-control officers and 11 civilian support staff.

The shootings, however, occurred in Parkland, an unincorporated area of Pierce County. The coffee shop is just south of Lakewood, which is southeast of Tacoma. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement services for the Parkland area.

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“Today we experienced our most tragic event in Lakewood’s 14 years as a city,” Lakewood Mayor Douglas Richardson and City Manager Andrew Neiditz said in a joint statement. “We lost four of our finest in a shocking, heartbreaking and senseless murder. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with the families and colleagues of these innocent victims during this extraordinarily difficult time.

“The slain officers were all part of Lakewood’s initial police department startup five years ago,” the statement said. “All transferred to Lakewood as commissioned law enforcement officers from other jurisdictions. Their dedication and selfless service contributed immensely toward the successful creation of the Lakewood Police Department.

“Today we have four fewer officers from our force of one hundred commissioned officers. They will be sorely missed. Support from other law enforcement agencies has been very responsive and deeply appreciated.”

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