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Pugel out as interim Seattle Police Chief

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 10.11.13 AMSeattle’s new mayor will start his term with a new interim police chief:

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has decided to replace Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel with a former SPD official, Harry C. Bailey, who retired as an assistant chief in 2007, according to sources briefed on the mayor’s plan.

Murray is expected to announce his decision Wednesday, adding another chapter to tumult and change that has rocked the Police Department since the Department of Justice found in December 2011 that officers too often resorted to the use of excessive force.

Pugel moved into the interim role in spring 2013 when John Diaz stepped down.

UPDATE: Mayor Murray confirmed the Bailey decision in a news conference Wednesday morning and said his goal is to have a new police chief named by April.

SPD’s continued overhaul includes a recent approval of a new DOJ-approved use of force policy that lists guidelines for all department weaponry and requires all officers to carry at least one non-lethal weapon at all times. The policy also requires nearly all uses of force to be reported and the most serious uses of force to be investigated by a special team. The new policy took effect on January 1st.

Bailey, nearing 70 years old, retired from SPD seven years ago after 37 years in police work. He worked as director of security for the Seattle Sonics then the Oklahoma City Thunder after the team moved. He also has served as the volunteer security director for 19th and Madison’s Mount Zion Baptist Church, the Seattle Times reports.

On Capitol Hill, a smaller change also took place at the East Precinct where Captain Mike Edwards has taken over as commander.

A community forum will be held later this month at Garfield Community Center to discuss the search for Seattle’s new police chief.


As we begin our search process in January 2014, the Mayor’s Office is inviting the community to comment on desired qualities for the new Police Chief. Community engagement is essential to selecting a leader who can manage police reforms and build officer morale. Our search will also be informed by the input received through the Community Police Commission and its outreach in October 2013, as well other prior community input and best practices.

We will share community perspectives with the Community Advisory Committee for their review, the public, and the future Police Chief. In March 2014, we will report back to you about how we considered and addressed community feedback during the search process.

How to participate:

  • Sign up for our email listserv

  • Discuss your views online – stay tuned for a link to our online town hall!

  • Attend a community workshop:Find information about Community Advisory Committee meetings, which are open to the public

    • Tues, Jan. 28, 6-8 p.m., University Heights Center
    • Wed, Jan. 29, 6-8 p.m., Garfield Community Center
    • Thurs, Jan. 30, 6-8 p.m., Youngstown Cultural Arts Center
    • Sat, Feb. 1, Noon-2 p.m., Van Asselt Community Center

    Scheduling for community workshops in the Downtown, Ballard and Lake City neighborhoods is in progress. We will update this list when those dates and times become available.

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