Mayor Murray’s remarks at Chief O’Toole’s Swearing-In Ceremony

“First of all, I want to thank Councilmember Bruce Harrell and the entire City Council for their action today. “I also want to thank interim Chief Harry Bailey, for his leadership and commitment to the Seattle Police Department, his passion for protecting the people of Seattle, and his deep compassion for our communities. “And I want to welcome Chief Kathy O’Toole. “Again and again, I’ve been asked if I chose you because you’re a woman. And again and again, I’ve answered that, no, I chose you because you’re Irish. “But the fact is, I chose you because you’re the best. “Today, you inherit a police department that has gone through troubled times. A group of good men and women who everyday put their lives on the line for the safety of the people of this city, and who deserve the strong and clear leadership that I have every confidence you will provide. “In the end, public safety is not about a chief of police or a police force by itself – it is about all of us assuming our responsibility as a community for our community. “Together, we as a city are excited to begin a new day for public safety in Seattle. “Congratulations, Kathy, on becoming Seattle’s new Chief of Police.”

Watch the Seattle Channel video:

‘Ask the Mayor’ to focus on public safety, feature police chief nominee

The next episode of Seattle Channel’s ‘Ask the Mayor‘ will air Thursday, June 26 at 7 p.m. The Q&A show, which is filmed in front of a live audience, covers a range of city issues in the first 30 minutes and then switches to a focused topic for the second half.

The June 26th taping will focus on public safety and the Mayor will be joined by his nominee for police chief, Kathleen O’Toole. In addition to discussing the recent tragic gun violence Seattle has experienced, they will address neighborhood crime, progress on police reform and more.

O’Toole, whose appointment by the mayor is expected to be approved by the Seattle City Council on June 23, would be the first female to lead the city’s police department. A former Boston police commissioner, O’Toole is currently a public-safety consultant. She served as Boston’s first female police commissioner from 2004 to 2006, then until 2012 as chief inspector of the Irish national police.

There is no cost to attend the live Ask the Mayor broadcast, however seating is limited and advance registration is strongly encouraged. Register online at or call (206) 684-8821. Doors open at 6 p.m. with audience instructions at 6:45 p.m. The live show is 7 to 8 p.m.

Can’t join the conversation in person? Watch live on Seattle Channel cable 21 or online at To submit questions in advance or during the live broadcast, e-mail, tweet @SeattleChannel using the hashtag #AskTheMayor or comment on Facebook at

Ask the Mayor
7 p.m., Thursday, June 2
New Holly Gathering Hall
7054 32nd Ave. S.
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Mayor Murray nominates Kathleen O’Toole for Chief of Police

Mayor Murray today announced Kathleen O’Toole as his nominee for chief of the Seattle Police Department.

“I made a commitment to find the best possible chief of police for Seattle, and that’s exactly what I have found in Kathleen O’Toole,” said Murray. “The Seattle police department deserves the best leadership possible to drive ongoing reform efforts – not for the sake of reform, and not even for the sake of compliance with the federal court, but because all individuals in this city deserve to feel safe and protected in their communities. We can be a national model for urban policing, and Kathleen O’Toole is the right choice to lead us there.”

“I am humbled and excited to have this extraordinary opportunity,” said O’Toole, who, if confirmed, would be Seattle’s first female chief of police. “I look forward to working with Mayor Murray, members of the Seattle Police Department and the community to restore trust and develop a police service second to none.”

O’Toole is a career police officer who has risen through the ranks of local and state policing. During her police career, she was assigned to numerous patrol, investigative, undercover, and supervisory and management positions, including service as Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety (1994) and Boston Police Commissioner (2004). She was the first woman appointed to both positions.

O’Toole is also a lawyer who has earned an international reputation for her principled leadership and reform strategies. In 2012, O’Toole completed a six-year term as Chief Inspector of the Garda Siochana Inspectorate, an oversight body responsible for bringing reform and accountability to the 17,000 member Irish national police service.

“I want to thank interim Chief Harry Bailey, who came out of a well-earned retirement to serve as my interim chief because of his dedication to the profession, to public safety, and to the people of Seattle,” said Murray. “For this, he has my profound gratitude, the gratitude of this police department and of this city.

Bailey will continue in his role while O’Toole undergoes the Council confirmation process over the coming weeks. O’Toole’s targeted start date is June 23.

More about O’Toole and the search process for Seattle’s next Chief can be found here and more photos from today are available on our Flickr page.

Mayor’s search committee announces finalists for police chief

Pramila Jayapal and Ron Sims, the co-chairs of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s police chief Search Committee, announced today the three finalists the committee will forward to the mayor for his consideration.

The three finalists are:

  • Robert Lehner, Chief of Police, City of Elk Grove, California
  • Frank Milstead, Chief of Police, City of Mesa, Arizona
  • Kathleen O’Toole, former Police Commissioner, City of Boston

“We were fortunate to have four, highly qualified candidates to consider,” said Jayapal. “We have since conducted a thorough vetting and competitive exam process that included a written response to a number of questions as well as extensive site visits. All candidates and their communities opened themselves up to us over the course of dozens of interviews. Through this process, we gained a comprehensive picture of each candidate’s strengths and potential challenges. It was clear that each candidate is highly respected in his or her own community and has demonstrated significant success in highly impressive careers. As a committee, we have been asked to limit to three the number of candidates we are recommending to the Mayor and are excited to put forth are excited to the three individuals whom we believe possess the very strongest qualifications.”

“While the three finalists each bring different sets of skills, there is no question that all are extremely well-qualified to be Seattle’s next chief of police,” said Sims. “We know that the next chief needs to bring a proven record of reform,  effective management experience, strong communications skills, an unwavering commitment to community engagement and the ability to articulate vision and expectations to which the force will be held accountable. These candidates all reflect these characteristics and are highly regarded as people of integrity. Whomever the Mayor ultimately selects as his nominee, Seattle will have a truly exceptional individual in our next police chief.”

Murray will interview the three finalists over the next several weeks, with the goal of announcing his selection and nominee to City Council in mid-May.

The members of Murray’s police chief Search Committee are:

  • Pramila Jayapal, Co-Chair, Distinguished Taconic Fellow, Center for Community Change
  • Ron Sims, Co-Chair, Former Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Council Member and Chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee
  • Tim Burgess, President, Seattle City Council
  • Sue Rahr, Former King County Sheriff; Executive Director, Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission
  • John Lovick, Snohomish County Executive
  • Eric Sano, President, Seattle Police Management Association
  • Ron Smith, Incoming President, Seattle Police Officers Guild
  • Verlene Jones, A Philip Randolph Institute
  • Kathleen Taylor, Executive Director, ACLU of Washington
  • Michael Ramos, Director of Social Justice Ministries, Church Council of Great Seattle
  • Michele Storms, Assistant Dean for Public Service & Executive Director, W.H. Gates Service Law Program

More information about the search process can be found here.