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Mayor Harrell Announces First Steps in Permanent Police Chief Search to Commence in April

Harrell: ‘Pleased’ with Interim Chief Adrian Diaz, who is encouraged to apply

Seattle – Today, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced that the national search process for the next permanent chief of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) will officially begin in April. Prioritizing community engagement, Mayor Harrell shared first steps in the process to identify a permanent leader for SPD who can galvanize the police department with a focus on driving public safety and trust across Seattle. 

“Facing increasing crime, gun violence, and public safety issues, our next permanent chief must be able to respond to these challenges with urgency and innovation. This comprehensive search will determine the leader best equipped to fill this challenging role and move our department forward,” said Mayor Harrell. “As we work to make immediate and long-term safety improvements at 12th and Jackson, 3rd Avenue, and neighborhoods citywide, I have been pleased with Interim Chief Diaz’s approach and commitment to progress on public safety. Although I expect to conduct a robust search process, I encourage Interim Chief Diaz to apply.” 

In April, the Mayor’s Office will hire an independent third-party firm to assist in identifying candidates nationwide for the position. The Mayor’s Office will also announce the members of the search committee tasked with selecting the candidates who will proceed to the competitive examination phase. The committee will be made up of local leaders including law enforcement experts, Community Police Commission members, and representatives from small businesses, communities of color, and other key voices.  

In the upcoming weeks, the Mayor’s Office will roll out a website providing an overview of the search process and launch an online community survey to collect feedback from Seattle residents, ensuring community voices from every neighborhood are heard. Through the survey, community members can list what they are looking for in the next chief and survey information will be made publicly available as part of the search process. 

“Too often, our neighbors and businesses are feeling the impacts of crime and public safety issues while at the same time our police officers face long hours, tough working conditions and serious morale challenges,” said Mayor Harrell. “They deserve permanency and support – a chief who shares my vision for One Seattle where every person has the absolute right to safety and where our police department is inspired and trusted.” 

The City’s charter sets specific requirements around the hiring of a permanent police chief. To comply with core charter responsibilities, a competitive examination must be held to identify the three finalists from which the mayor will select the next chief. This position also requires City Council confirmation.  “Under my leadership, our next permanent chief will have the support and opportunity to chart the most appropriate path forward for our department,” said Mayor Harrell. “They will be empowered to build and rebuild trust with the community, help drive internal culture change, and be integrally involved in the development of a new third public safety department. With values-driven leadership, big picture thinking, and a commitment to safety, respect, reform, and justice, our next chief can help us set a new standard for public safety, reach our recruitment and retention goals, build officer morale, and make this a welcoming and safe city for every community.”