Community groups call for ‘restart’ on Seattle Police Chief search

A group of Seattle community leaders including members who were part of the 25-person Seattle Police Chief search committee have called on Mayor Jenny Durkan to restart the selection process.

“The process itself has not been an honest process,” community advocate, Community Police Commission member, and part of the search committee Enrique Gonzalez said Tuesday at Seattle City Hall. “It has been a broken process. And we are very concerned that we are not in the position to select somebody that the community can accept based on a broken process.”

Last week, the three finalists to take the job were announced — interim SPD Chief Carmen Best was not on the list despite being one of five candidates put forth by the community-driven selection committee.

“We as a committee never agreed to either having an internal or an external candidate which is why Carmen Best was one of the candidates that we forwarded,” Gonzalez said Tuesday.

The group is calling on the mayor “to restart the selection process to adhere to the standards of transparency, accountability, justice and equity, and equal employment opportunity principles” and is asking the Seattle City Council “to not confirm any candidate until a fair process is completed.”

Greater Seattle Business Association head Louise Chernin spoke at Tuesday’s announcement. A member of the search committee, Chernin and the LGBTQ-focused GSBA have been major supporters of Durkan. Chernin said she is not among those calling for a restart.

“The process was disappointing and disrespectful to the committee and Chief Best,” Chernin tells CHS. She says the search committee spent more than 25 hours together and she believes the process was moved forward “in good faith” but said the push for an outside-of-SPD candidate was news to her and the search committee members. “If there was no internal consideration, we didn’t know about it,” Chernin said.

Despite the outcry, Durkan so far has not indicated any intention to restart the selection process or to add Chief Best to the finalist list.

Best, the first Black woman to lead the department, has risen through the ranks at SPD and had wide support in communities like the Central District.

CHS reported on the decision not to include Best and the three finalists here.

 

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4 thoughts on “Community groups call for ‘restart’ on Seattle Police Chief search

  1. I was really dismayed to see Best overlooked as a finalist for the job. She seemed exceptionally well qualified and had support from a broad range of communities. I hope this gains traction!

  2. Regarding potential reconsideration of Best, consider the multiple SPD management problems cited in the May 25 memo from search committee co-chairs Tim Burgess, Colleen Echohawk, Sue Rahr, and Jefferey Robinson) to Mayor Durkan on semifinalist recommendations.

    Chiefly:

    SPD lacks supervisor accountability standards and capabilities. When officers are found to have engaged in misconduct there is sometimes evidence of supervisory failure or even misconduct. Supervisors are not held accountable today. Chief Best acknowledged this shortcoming during her in-person interview when asked why patrol supervisors were not disciplined for an officer’s failure to carry his Taser, a failure that had been known for approximately two weeks by other officers and supervisors.”

    • Any search process for a position that is this important should be transparent and it’s evident that this process has not been. It is my understanding from reading several articles and hearing this KUOW interview that there have been some very questionable tactics including picking 3 finalists and announcing them without participation of the full search committee and also indicating a preference for an “outsider” when that was never the understanding of the search committee. Something just don’t seem kosher here. We all need to demand transparency and accountability from the mayor’s office https://bit.ly/2Lluys1