The White House today announced that Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole will be in attendance for President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address at the invitation of First Lady Michelle Obama. Chief O’Toole will be seated in the First Lady’s Box.
Since being selected by Mayor Murray to lead the Seattle Police Department in 2014, Chief O’Toole has overseen a department that is now moving forward on a number of reforms and implementing new policies – becoming a national leader on the issue of reform. Last year, SPD presented policies at the White House Police Data Initiative as part of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Increased public transparency with a six-month pilot program for body-worn cameras to which the Department of Justice awarded SPD $600,000 to expand the program.
“Under the leadership of Chief O’Toole and through the commitment of the men and women who serve in the department, SPD has made significant strides towards reforming our department and becoming a national model for urban policing. Across the nation, communities are looking to Seattle and the reforms we’ve made regarding training, transparency and accountability,” said Mayor Murray. “While we still have much more work to do, it’s a strong statement that the Administration is recognizing Seattle’s leadership on this national priority during the President’s final State of the Union. I am also pleased that DeAndre Coulter, a participant in my Youth Employment Initiative, will be accompanying the Chief for this historic occasion.”
“I’d like to thank Mayor Murray for giving me the opportunity to lead the Seattle Police Department. SPD has come a long way in the last two years and is now at the forefront innovation. While others are contemplating reform, we’re well down the road and our efforts are paying off,” said Chief O’Toole. “This recognition by the President of the United States and the visit last summer by Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks volumes about the hard work and dedication of the men and women of SPD and the Seattle community. I’m truly honored to attend the State of the Union representing Mayor Ed Murray, SPD, the Seattle community. I thank the President and First Lady for their invitation. ”
At the invitation of Mayor Murray, DeAndre Coulter a Mayor’s Youth Employment Initiative Intern who participated in the Summer of Safety, the city’s coordinated approach to public safety providing jobs for youth and young adults will accompany Chief O’Toole to Washington, D.C.
“As one of the thousands of young people in Seattle who have benefited from Mayor Ed Murray’s Youth Employment Initiative, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to watch President Obama’s final State of the Union Speech from the White House. Since I was a young child, I wanted to be a positive male role model for my younger siblings and I wanted to make my mom proud. I’ve worked hard in school and sought opportunities like my internship at Mayor Ed Murray’s Office of Economic Development. I hope my story will serve as an inspiration to not only my siblings, but to young people throughout this country. Work hard, seek opportunity and opportunity will find you” said DeAndre Coulter. DeAndre will watch the State of the Union at the White House along with other distinguished guests.
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12, 2016 6:00 p.m. PT / 9:00 p.m. ET