Retired Seattle Police Officers Association

Last Ring

Take a moment to remember our friends and associates who have passed.

Jodie Russell Averett #4393, vested Seattle Police Detective, unexpectedly passed away on September 4, 2017. She was 60 years of age upon passing.

Jodie was born and raised in Seattle. She attended Shorecrest High School. After school and on weekends, she landed a job at Albertson’s as a “box boy.” Originally, she was denied the job because she was not a boy. However, this did not discourage her. Every week she applied for the job and each week the manager said no. When he moved on, she began pestering the new manager. He was not as stubborn or may be smarter than the old manager, or Jodie wore him down. Anyway, he hired her as a “courtesy clerk,” boxing groceries – problem solved. Jodie worked there until she went to Washington State University.

At WSU, her major was in criminal justice, graduating in January 1979. She returned to Seattle and immediately applied to the Department. She was hired in the summer. One of her FTOs in the North Precinct was Mike Crist #3389. After Jodie finished the Field Training, she was assigned to a permanent district in the East Precinct. There, she teamed up with Debbie Backstrom #4527, on Car 2G3. One afternoon they were dispatched to a burglary. Jodie was driving. As they pulled up to the residence, Debbie elected to interview the owner, while Jodie cruised the neighborhood looking for anything suspicious. In the meantime, in the next district, Kevin Aratani #4193 got into a chase with a motorcyclist. Jodie swung back to the burglary residence to pick up Debbie and join the pursuit. They chased the juvenile suspect to his mother’s home. He ran inside and locked the door. By this time, Robin Clark #4507 and Terry Augerson #3246 came onto the scene. Terry grabbed Robin’s brand-new rosewood “Bernie Miller” custom nightstick and broke out the locked door’s window to release the lock. The nightstick was christened – scarred finish with embedded glass. They all rush in and find the suspect hiding in a closet, holding the family canine – a chihuahua. The dog growled, then got fear-induced diarrhea and defecated on the suspect and Kevin, who was trying to wrestle the kid and the dog out of the closet. Jodie and Debbie also got sprayed trying to help. Robin did not get covered because she was mourning the damage to her expensive new baton. There is a rumor that she’s still upset with Terry to this day. Jodie and Debbie transported the smelling suspect to the precinct and then returned to their original burglary call. The victims were glad to get their report taken. However, they mentioned that they thought it fishy when Debbie ran out of the house without explanation. But now, the explanation didn’t just sound and smell fishy – they just smelled like D.S.

Jodie’s next assignment was SAU. There, she teamed up with her old squad mate, Robin. Having just come from Patrol, they were determined not to be just filing cases, but proactive detectives – getting warrants and hunting down their suspects. One winter evening, while looking for a rape suspect, they ended up behind a vehicle that Radio advised was just involved in a robbery. The four suspects recognized the plain car and took off. The chase was on – in the snow. Both cars went down a steep hill with kids sledding on it. Jodie was driving and lost traction, so had little steering control. She blew her horn to warn the kids to get out of the way. The sledders didn’t, they just stood and waved at the two officers. Jodie yelled at Robin, “What’s wrong with these dumb bastards? Don’t they know we are out of control!” Well, the car finally spun around and hit the curb, stopping. The suspects’ car was also stopped. Robin, on the near down-hill side, jumped out and ran after the suspects (or to escape Jodie’s driving.) Suddenly, she is passed by Jodie who is sliding in the snow on her butt with her gun out, yelling commands at the suspects. The suspects immediately followed orders from this trained marksman in this strange shooting position, or maybe they thought this is just a crazy lady.

On another arrest, she tackled a fleeing rape suspect that young officers were chasing on foot. The patrolmen yelled at Jodie, “Get out of the way lady. We’ll handle it.” Jodie replied, “I’m not a lady!! I’m a detective!!” This upset Jodie, so she was complaining to Robin, “Who do they think they are, telling me to get out of their way and calling me lady?” Robin just laughed and flipped the rearview mirror around. Jodie saw her hair was embedded with yard bark, her face still had grass and other yard debris on it, and some bark was even in her teeth. Robin said, “You do look like a lady – a homeless bag lady.”

Jodie was offered a spot in Robbery, working with Don MacMillan #2836. His ability to talk to people, especially suspects, was well known. And her ability to remember detail with a photographic memory, made them a formidable investigative team. They not only arrested suspects, but usually tripped them up on their alibis to get confessions.

In 1988, Jodie got her dream assignment – the Mounted Unit. There, she was partnered with Grant Ballingham #4835, and then Terri MacMillan #3969. The female riders had hand-me-down riding uniform britches from Vancouver BC PD because they were better fitting. The problem was the stitching would deteriorate from all the dry cleaning. One shift, as Jodie mounted her horse, the inseam split from knee to crotch. Terri, ever prepared, had a bunch of safety pins. They pinned up the britches and rode to a dry cleaner. The man put Jodie in a back room while he re-sewed the inseam. Terri was outside holding the two horses. When Jodie emerged in her re-sewn trousers, she grabbed the stirrup and began to mount her horse and split the other inseam. Too embarrassed to go back into the cleaners, she and Terri used the safety pins again. Jodie rode the entire shift being poked by pins.

In 1991, she left the Department after twelve years of service. She moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. There, she married her college sweetheart, Tom Averett, who worked at the Bureau of Land Management. Jodie worked as an investigator for the local district prosecuting attorney.

In 1998, the family moved to Baker City, Oregon to buy a small horse ranch. Then Tom and Jodie opened a coffee shop. She also worked as a code enforcer for the city. Jodie was very involved in her community, volunteering as a tennis coach, substitute teacher, and working with non-profits.

Starting in 2014, she got involved with reined cow/horse competition. Unfortunately, on September 4, 2017, while prepping one of her competition horses, she sustained a fatal injury. She is survived by her husband, Tom; daughter Kate; and sons, Sam and Elliot #8359 who works Patrol East Precinct.