Mayor Murray announces next steps in search for police chief

Mayor Murray announced today that the search for Seattle’s next chief of police has reached a pivotal point in the process, as his search committee begins formal review of applicants for the position.

Murray and his committee co-chairs Pramila Jayapal and Ron Sims said they are optimistic about the quality of the applicant pool. The search committee will begin today its assessment of the resumes that the recruiting firm Bob Murray & Associates provided to the Mayor’s Office after the job announcement closed on April 4.

“We must reform the culture of our police department, and reform starts at the top,” said Murray. “I am confident that within the pool of job applicants, we will find a bold, proven leader with experience in effective crime prevention, public accountability and building community trust who can come to Seattle and drive transformational change throughout the police department.”

The search committee will determine which applicants advance to the next step in the screening process today.

“Trust is an essential element in the police department’s ability to keep our communities safe, which is why it’s absolutely critical that we not only listen to input from the community, but that we really apply that input to the search for Seattle’s next chief of police,” said Sims. “And what we’ve heard loud and clear is a strong desire for a collaborative leader who values social justice, who values community engagement and public accountability, and who can lead a police force that is seen as a partner to – and not a stranger in – every one of the unique and special neighborhoods that make up our great city. We have a tremendous opportunity before us to identify and select a chief who will serve all Seattle residents with confidence, with compassion, and with the highest ethical standards. This has the potential to be a truly great moment for Seattle.”

“Our outreach has confirmed for us the widespread agreement that Seattle is ready for a strong chief who is ready to provide leadership internally and externally and transform the department into what every single officer and community member wants:  a model for policing across the country,” said Jayapal. “We are at a critical moment in Seattle, a moment that must leverage the tremendous strengths we have in our police force and in our community. The search committee of talented and diverse leaders is ready to find that ethical, accountable candidate for chief of police who can view this moment as a true opportunity, create a positive culture within the police department and lead a positive engagement throughout all our diverse neighborhoods. I am excited about identifying the individual who can move us forward on this critical community priority.”

Murray’s community advisory committee conducted extensive public outreach, the results of which have been shared with the search committee to consider as it evaluates the applicants and ultimately selects the finalists it will recommend to Murray. In addition, the search committee will consider the results of broad community outreach conducted in October 2013 by the Office of the Community Police Commission (CPC),  and a survey commissioned in September of 2013 by the federal monitoring team.

“The CPC is pleased to have contributed to new policies that are reforming SPD practices now, and we will issue recommendations to improve SPD’s accountability system very soon,” said Diane Narasaki, co-chair of the CPC. “The success of all of these and other vitally important reform measures depends to a significant degree on a permanent police chief who will inspire and partner with SPD officers to embrace reform and achieve the culture change necessary for the consistently respectful, equitable, and effective policing so essential to greater trust from all segments of the community.”

Murray also announced that he will be engaging the community advisory committee further to help develop a suggested outreach plan for the new chief to assist him or her in learning about and opening up a dialogue with Seattle’s many diverse communities.

Key steps in the search process to date have included:

Next steps in the process will include (final dates are tentative):

  • April 11 through 26: Screen applicants, schedule and conduct interviews
  • Week of May 5: Select and move top candidates to Mayor for final decision
  • Week of May 12: Mayor interviews candidates
  • Week of May 19: Mayor makes and announces his nominee to Council

“The community and our police officers deserve a police department that is ready and able to keep all people safe, serve all neighborhoods, treat all people with respect and protect their Constitutional rights,” said Murray. “That is the mandate of the federal court order and the goal of my administration as we work to create a national model for urban policing, and that will be the mission of Seattle’s next police chief.”