This morning, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that she is nominating Interim Chief Carmen Best to be Seattle’s next Chief of Police, subject to confirmation by the City Council.
For each of the past three years, a Seattle University research team has conducted a survey of Seattle residents to assess their views on public safety issues in their communities and on the police. Called the Seattle Public Safety survey, it is commissioned by the Seattle Police Department as part of their Micro-Community Policing Plan (MCPP) to help it understand how best to engage with each neighborhood in Seattle. The most recent survey was fielded last October and November, and the results were published last month. Yesterday, representatives from the Seattle University team and from SPD briefed the City Council on the report. The briefing was high-level, but there’s an ocean of data on individual neighborhoods included, so here’s a deeper dive into what’s notable and meaningful in this year’s report.
In a surprise turn of events this evening, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office announced that former Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay had withdrawn from consideration as one of three finalists to replace Kathleen O’Toole as Seattle’s Chief of Police. In addition, current Interim Chief Carmen Best, who was one of the semi-finalists but had not made the final cut, took McLay’s place as a finalist, sidestepping an ongoing controversy over why she was not originally selected as a finalist.
While the Mayor’s Office has been moving forward with the selection process for a new Chief of Police, the Community Police Commission (CPC) has continued to scrutinize the process used to narrow the candidate list to three — and press for increased transparency.
The USA Special Olympics is coming to Seattle July 1-6. According to its web site, “More than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing 50 state Programs and the District of Columbia, along with the support of tens of thousands of volunteers and spectators, will compete in 14 Olympic-type team and individual sports.” Last week, Council member Rob Johnson introduced an ordinance that would waive the city’s usual event fees, including permits and police staffing, for the Special Olympics. But this morning several Council members had second thoughts, and that ordinance is on hold for a week while they talk it out a bit more.
There was a lot more heat than light today when it came to the blowback from last Friday’s announcement of the three finalists for Chief of Police.
Three days after the finalists for Chief of Police were announced, the controversy doesn’t appear to be dying down. Some more documents have been made public, however, that shed a bit more light on what transpired last week.
This afternoon, the three finalists for the position of Chief of Police were announced: one from Minneapolis, one from Pittsburgh, and one from Austin. All three are men; two are people of color. But the list of three finalists is not sitting well with some stakeholders.
Last week a King County Superior Court judge dismissed Solid Ground from the wrongful death lawsuit that the estate and family of Charleena Lyles filed last year.
Back in January, the Department of Justice sent letters to several cities and counties, including King County, expressing concern over sanctuary city policies, demanding further documentation of existing policies, and threatening consequences if its demands are not met. Yesterday the DOJ sent the same letter to the City of Seattle, with the same demands and threats.