The Mayor’s office, once it was done wagging its finger at local journalists for publishing the leaked names, has confirmed the top four candidates under consideration to become the Seattle Police Department’s next chief and, hopefully, lead the city’s police force out of the long slog it has faced — and sometimes dragged itself into — following the Justice Department consent decree:
Kathleen O’Toole, 59, served as Boston’s police commissioner from 2004 to 2006, veteran of the Boston Police Department
- Robert Lehner, 58, police chief in Elk Grove, California., who previously served as police chief in Eugene, Oregon
- Patrick Melvin, 49, police chief of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Arizona
- Frank Milstead, 51, police chief of the Mesa Police Department
The Seattle Times examined the candidates and their backgrounds here.
In a statement, Pramila Jayapal, Search Committee co-chair laid out what her group is tasked with next in providing Mayor Ed Murray with a roster of the final three candidates before his goal of naming the final candidate by May 19th.
“While we value the importance of confidentiality to the police chief search, we determined that, with the identities of some candidates now publicly known, a fully confidential process is no longer possible at this stage.
“We also understand and appreciate the public’s desire to know details of this critically important process as it unfolds. Which is why at this time we are confirming that the Search Committee is asking the four outstanding candidates recently identified in the press to complete a competitive exam before potentially advancing to the next stage of the vetting process for the chief of police position.
“Over the coming weeks, we will continue to screen and thoroughly evaluate these and other applicants as the Search Committee makes progress toward our goal of recommending the best three individuals from our highly talented pool of applicants to Mayor Murray for his final review and selection by mid-May.”
The candidate will face one more challenge following Murray’s selection in the City Council’s confirmation process. The current timeline means a new chief should be in place by summer.
In addition to giving the department a shakeup by bringing in a new leader from outside its ranks, SPD may also be welcoming a brand new set of brass. The City Council approved a change in rules that will allow the new chief to appoint assistant and deputy chiefs from outside the department.