Council allows external hiring for top SPD commanders

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City of Seattle

Council President Tim Burgess
Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell

Council allows external hiring for top SPD commanders
Bill adopted to give hiring flexibility for new Chief of Police

SeattleCity Council unanimously adopted legislation today to allow the new Chief of Police to hire the best candidates for the top leadership positions of Deputy Chief of Police and Assistant Chief of Police in the Seattle Police Department (SPD). The legislation repealed a 1978 law that restricts the appointment of the top commanders in SPD to the pool of current SPD Captains and Lieutenants. The legislation allows the Chief to hire direct reports from either inside or outside the Department.

"We want the best possible police chief candidates, and this is one additional tool to help achieve truly effective and sustainable reform," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee.  "Successful implementation of the Settlement Agreement will require the best leadership possible and ending any resistance to positive change. Removing this hiring barrier sends a strong signal to the people of Seattle that the Department is positively changing."

"Our police officers deserve the best commanders we can find," said Council President Tim Burgess. "Whether they come from inside or outside the police department, good leaders will push everyone to work harder to keep our communities safe."

Of the seven comparably sized West Coast U.S. cities, only Seattle and San Jose disallowed external hires for police command staff prior to the adoption of today’s legislation. The legislation continues to allow internal SPD candidates to aspire to these command assignments.

[View in Council Newsroom]