Seattle can’t name a permanent police chief until after the election but East Precinct officers patrolling Capitol Hill are getting a new commander.
Lieutenant Jim Dermody, a 19-year veteran of the Department, is being promoted to the rank of captain and will take over as the new East Precinct commander, according to an announcement from interim Seattle Police Department Chief John Diaz.
According to the release, Captain Dermody will assume command of approximately 88 officers assigned to Patrol Operations, including a Community Police Team, and a plain-clothes Anti-Crime Team. Captain Dermody has previously served in Homicide, as both the watch commander and Operations Lieutenant for the West and Southwest Precincts, SWAT, and Anti-Crime and Patrol. This will be Captain Dermody’s first precinct command.
Dermody will replace Captain Paul McDonagh who is being promoted to the rank of Interim Assistant Chief in charge of the Special Operations Bureau. McDonagh has been the precinct commander for two years and is a 26-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department. According to the announcement, he will now oversee the Special Operations Bureau, which consists of the Criminal Intelligence, Homeland Security Section, Arson and Bomb Unit, SWAT, Mounted, Traffic, and the Seattle Police Operations Center.
Chief Diaz, meanwhile, continues to lead SPD in an interim capacity. He took over the role when Gil Kerlikowske stepped down to take a position in the Obama cabinet as the nation’s drug czar. The appointment of a new permanent chief became a political issue recently when it was revealed that current mayor Greg Nickels asked mayoral candidates Joe Mallahan and Mike McGinn for their agreement to start the hiring process prior to the election. The McGinn camp agreed but, according to this report from the Seattle Times, Mallahan did not.
Dermody inherits a precinct experiencing an upswing in crime along with the rest of the city. Latest stats for Capitol Hill showed a 17% jump in July’s crime totals vs. 2008 while the Central District weighed in with a 10% jump.