Chief Best Announces Updates to SPD Leadership Team

As the Chief of Police of the Seattle Police Department, it is my responsibility to ensure the Department’s continued success, and advance a culture of continuous innovation and improvement with a shared commitment to service.

In supporting this vision, I am making the following Command Staff announcements:

Deputy Chief Marc Garth Green

With Deputy Chief Fowler’s forthcoming retirement, I am pleased to announce Assistant Chief Marc Garth Green will assume the role of Deputy Chief of Police, where he will oversee the Patrol Operations, Criminal Investigations and Homeland Security/Special Operations Bureau. Deputy Chief Garth Green is a proven leader, earning the respect of his peers and further enhancing relationships with our local, state and federal partners. Under his leadership as Assistant Chief of Investigations, he was instrumental in numerous multi-agency operations, taking guns, drugs and violent offenders off the streets.

Acting Asst. Chief of Investigations Deanna Nollette

Captain Deanna Nollette will assume the role of Acting Assistant Chief of Investigations. She has served with the Department for 22 years, most recently as Captain of the Violent Crimes Section, where she oversaw the largest joint drug takedown operation in department history. Assistant Chief Nollette was instrumental in launching the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) model here in Seattle. A national search will commence to permanently fill the position of Assistant Chief of Investigations.

Assistant Chief of Patrol Operations Steve Wilske has requested to move to the role of Night Duty Captain. He has served with the Seattle Police Department for more than 30 years, and has been instrumental in leading the backbone of our Department through all of the reforms under the consent decree. Assistant Chief Wilske has served the Department in a variety of positions and has helped launched such innovations as the Navigation Team. I have worked for and with him my entire career, and cannot thank him enough for his continued dedication to this department, our officers and our city.

Asst. Chief of Patrol Operations Eric Greening

Assistant Chief Eric Greening will assume the role of Assistant Chief of Patrol Operations. Assistant Chief Greening has served with the Department for nearly 24 years, most recently as Assistant Chief of the Homeland Security Bureau. During his career with the Department, Assistant Chief Greening has held various positions, including Traffic, Patrol and Investigations assignments, as well as Captain of our South Precinct, where he oversaw a 15% decrease in major crime, championed the Micro Community Policing Plan program within the Precinct and enhanced the trust and safety of the approximately 85,000 residents of southeast Seattle. He has also served as Incident Commander for a variety of high-profile events across the city.

Assistant Chief Perry Tarrant is retiring from the Department. I sincerely want to thank Assistant Chief Tarrant for his contributions to the Department over the past three and a half years, and wish him well in his future endeavors.

Acting Asst. Chief Steve Hirjak

To promote greater internal collaboration and business efficiency, the Special Operations Bureau and the Homeland Security Bureau will combine under Acting Assistant Chief Steve Hirjak. Assistant Chief Hirjak has served with our department for 25 years in a variety of roles, including Patrol Officer, Patrol Supervisor, Detective with the Domestic Violence Unit, an investigator with the Office of Professional Accountability, as the Equal Opportunity Employment Sergeant and Captain of the Force Investigations Team. In March of this year, he assumed the role of Captain of our Education and Training Section. A national search will commence to permanently fill the position of Assistant Chief of Homeland Security/Special Operations.

Asst. Chief for Collaborative Policing Adrian Diaz

Community outreach will continue to be the centerpiece of our work. To that end, I am pleased to announce that Lieutenant Adrian Diaz will be joining our Command Staff, serving as Assistant Chief for Collaborative Policing. For more than two decades, Assistant Chief Diaz has committed himself to building relationships across all of Seattle’s diverse communities, and has been an architect of several citywide youth violence prevention initiatives. In this role, he will continue to drive our prevention and intervention, restorative justice and community engagement initiatives, while ensuring that community outreach is at the heart of our culture.

Executive Director of Human Resources Mike Fields

Finally, I am pleased to announce Mike Fields’s promotion to Executive Director of Human Resources. Executive Director Fields will directly report to the Chief, and lead all human resource initiatives for the department, including recruiting/hiring, labor and employee relations, leadership development, performance management and EEO investigations, classification/compensation, as well as aligning strategic human resource efforts with the overall mission of the Department. Executive Director Fields has served as Human Resources Director since 2014.

These changes are effective immediately.

I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished together, and I am excited about the future of our department. As we move ahead, we will continue to reduce crime and disorder; strive for Excellence in Service; serve with Honor and Professionalism; promote Business Efficiency; and enhance our Data Driven Policies and Practices.

Deputy Chief Chris Fowler retiring from SPD to join the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission

I would like to announce the retirement of Deputy Chief of Police Chris Fowler and thank him for his outstanding contributions and 26 years of service to this City, and for helping to make the Seattle Police Department a national model for reform and constitutional policing.

“Throughout my 26 years with the SPD, I have had the honor and privilege of working with incredibly dedicated professionals. The City of Seattle is fortunate to have a police department that is deeply committed to serving an amazing city and community. I want to thank those outstanding leaders that I have worked with throughout the years, especially Chief Best. She offered me a unique opportunity to continue my service to the department and the community as Deputy Chief,” said Deputy Chief Fowler.

I will not only miss his steady leadership but his calm demeanor and sense of humor, even under the most intense moments. Over the years I’ve seen Deputy Chief Fowler rise through the ranks to oversee Patrol Operations, Criminal Investigations, Special Operations and Homeland Security Bureaus.

He has made an indelible impression on our Department no matter where he served whether it was as Captain in Special Operations, Captain of the West Precinct, patrol officer, bicycle officer, Anti-Crime Team officer, Narcotics detective, Patrol Sergeant, SWAT Sergeant, Patrol Lieutenant and Detective Lieutenant in the Sexual Assault unit. Deputy Chief Fowler has served as Incident Commander for many of the city’s largest public events, including May Day, ensuring the exercise of civil liberties and the protection of life and property.

Deputy Chief Fowler was an essential element of the team working with the Department of Justice on the consent decree, and a key team member in the collaboration with community stakeholders, prosecutors, public defenders, and other law enforcement to develop the now national Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, which works to divert low-level offenders addicted to drugs to treatment.

Deputy Chief Fowler is not only a dedicated public servant at the local level, but also proudly served our country. He recently retired as a Brigadier General with the Washington Army National Guard, where he was responsible for the command of over 6,000 Army Guard soldiers.

Join me in congratulating Deputy Chief Chris Fowler on his future endeavors we wish him all the best.

“We are incredibly excited to have Chris Fowler on the academy leadership team where his knowledge and skills will benefit police training statewide,” said Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center Executive Director Sue Rahr.

While Deputy Chief Fowler will officially retire from SPD on September 30, 2018, he won’t be idle for long. I’m grateful that he’ll be shaping the next generation of law enforcement leaders in his new role as the Deputy Director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

Thank you, Deputy Chief Fowler, for your service to SPD, Seattle and our country.

Carmen Best sworn in as new Chief of Police

Today I was confirmed unanimously by the City Council as the Chief of Police for the Seattle Police Department.  Next Tuesday, August 21st, there will be community swearing-in ceremonies at the following locations:

  • Seattle City Hall | Bertha Knight Landes Room | 600 4th Ave., Seattle, WA | 1-2 p.m.
  • Northwest African American Museum | 2300 S. Massachusetts St., Seattle, WA 98144 | 4-6 p.m.

As I’ve said before, there is no greater honor for me than to be your Chief, in a City and Department that I love.

First, I’d like to thank my family for their unwavering support throughout my career. I’d also like to thank Mayor Jenny Durkan for nominating me as Chief of Police for the Seattle Police Department, as well as the City Council for their confirmation. I’d also like to thank the community for their partnership and support. I’d especially like to thank the men and women, sworn and civilian of the Seattle Police Department who serve this City every day with Service, Pride and Dedication.

As the new police Chief, I’ll continue to lead our department through a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. Just nine months ago, the Seattle Police Department was found to be in full and effective compliance with the consent decree by the federal court. Make no mistake this was in large part due to the efforts of the men and women of SPD who work every day, under intense scrutiny, to serve and protect this City. Our officers are on the front lines of poverty, of mental health crisis, of homelessness, and all the tragedy and unpredictability inherent in the profession of policing, while simultaneously, working to build relationships with the communities they serve.   As we enter the next phase of the consent decree, we all look forward to continued progress and evolution at the Seattle Police Department. I know great things are ahead.

Often times when I’m meeting with the community, I’ve come to find out we have more in common than we often realize. We agree that we want safe neighborhoods, we all want to be treated fairly, and we can all work together, moving the Department forward for a safer Seattle, with equitable police services for everyone.

Here are my priorities for the Seattle Police Department. Let me be clear, our primary concern as a law enforcement agency will always be: Reducing Crime and Disorder. I am working closely with my commanders to ensure we have officers where they’re most needed.

We must strive for Excellence in Service, to better foster trust, support and understanding in the communities we serve.

Every member of our department should serve with Honor and Professionalism and take pride in their chosen career as a member of SPD.

We will seek new ways to increase Business Efficiency throughout our organization. We will continuously look for ways to better utilize the resources we have, effectively manage the funds entrusted to us by our city and streamline practices throughout our organization.

Finally, we will continue to lean heavily on Data Driven Policies and Practices to improve deployments, and monitor and respond to emerging crime trends.

Thank you, and I look forward to working with you.

Interim Chief Carmen Best Nominated to Be Seattle’s Next Police Chief

I want to thank Mayor Durkan for this opportunity. She and I share the same public safety vision for moving Seattle forward, and making this the best city it can be for everyone.

I’d also like to take this moment to especially thank the men and women, both sworn and civilian, of the Seattle Police Department who serve this city everyday with service, pride and dedication. Trust me when I say, the Seattle Police Department is one of the premier agencies in the country, and that I look forward to being your Chief. Thank you.

I’d also like to thank the community for their unwavering support — many of whom I’ve worked with for more than two and a half decades.

Every day our officers show up and are committed to making Seattle a safer, better city. With our rapid growth comes new challenges for public safety and new demands on policing. Our department needs to reflect our growing city, and the community we serve. This means increasing the number of officers who are working in our communities.

Here in Seattle, and across the country, our officers are being asked to do more, especially at the complicated intersection of public health and public safety. We must continue to provide support and access to resources to members of our community who are struggling with mental health crisis, addiction, and homelessness.

Since 2012, Seattle has been under a Court ordered Consent Decree for unconstitutional policing. The reforms created a foundation for an accountable police department that serves the public and enhances public safety in a way that is consistent with our community values and the Constitution.

We enacted significant reforms: new use of force policies and training that emphasizes de-escalation, a new approach to how officers interact with people experiencing mental crisis, new supervision and oversight with community involvement were created and implemented. These changes are showing results, saving lives and enhancing trust. There has been a decrease in uses of force overall – including a 60 percent reduction of the most serious uses of force – and a significant decline in force used against people in crisis.

Eight months ago, in January, The Honorable James Robart ruled that the City of Seattle in “full and effective compliance,” but the work is not done – not in Seattle and not across our country. As the new police Chief, I’ll continue to help lead our Department through reform. As we enter the next phase of the consent decree, we will move ahead with a culture of continuous improvement and innovation at the Seattle Police Department. This is what I expect, and what our community deserves. I know great things are ahead.

As part of the Police Chief search process, we heard from thousands of community members. One of the most important qualifications that people wanted was a candidate who demonstrated an ability to build trust and confidence with people across widely diverse communities in a large city.

Community trust is fragile. One interaction can break the foundation we’ve worked so hard to build.

Often times when I’m meeting with the community, I’ve come to find we have more in common than we realize. We agree that we have serious problems in policing. We agree that people are not treated equally this country. We agree that community trust in the police has been shaken. We agree that our department must increase diversity and ensure our officers reflect the communities we serve. But most importantly, we agree that we all need to do something about it. The support from the community has been inspiring. We must take the energy the community has I’d like to harness this energy demonstrated over the past few weeks and channel that into ways we can all work together, moving the department forward for a safer Seattle, with equitable police services for all.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve as Chief of Police in this great city—a city that I love, with a department that I love. I am committed to the safety, equity, unity and diversity of our city, and fair and just treatment for all.

Statement From Interim Chief Carmen Best

There is no greater honor than to have served as the Chief of the Seattle Police Department, in a city and department that I love. I want to thank the Mayor for the opportunity and have agreed to her request that I continue as Interim Chief until a new Chief is confirmed. I wish the candidates the best – each of them should know how fortunate they will be to lead officers who have a commitment to public safety and reform. We will continue to work to meet our community’s expectations, while leading the way as one of the best departments in the country, with Service, Pride and Dedication.

Thank you.