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SPD Chief Appointment Restriction Lifted

Today the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee voted to send to the Full Council a bill to repeal the following 1978 Municipal Code provision: 

“Above the rank and position of Police Captain in the Police Department shall be made by assignment from the ranks and positions of. . . Captain or Lieutenant in the Seattle Police Department (emphasis added)…”

This section prohibits the Chief from selecting candidates from outside of SPD.  Of the “West Coast Seven” cities historically used for comparison in labor contract negotiations, only San Jose does not allow appointment to the top command positions from a “best candidate” pool that includes officers from outside their police department.

We always welcome internal candidates aspiring to leadership assignments, but with Monday’s upcoming Full Council vote, Seattle will join Portland, San Diego, Oakland, Long Beach, San Francisco and Sacramento in the practice of selecting the best possible candidates for Deputy Chief of Police or Assistant Chief of Police from a pool of qualified applicants that may originate from either inside or outside the Department.

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