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Councilmember Sawant’s Response to Chief Best Resignation

SEATTLE – Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle), chair of the Council’s Sustainability and Renters Rights Committee, released the following statement in response to the resignation announcement by Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best: “When Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announced her pending retirement earlier this week, she joined more than half a dozen police […]


Council Confirms Kathleen O’Toole as Chief of Police

City of Seattle

Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Council Confirms Kathleen O'Toole as Chief of Police

SEATTLE - CityCouncil voted 8-1 to confirm Kathleen O'Toole as the next Chief of Police for the Seattle Police Department (SPD). O'Toole began work with the Boston Police Department in 1979 and has over three decades of experience as a police officer, Commissioner, Chief Inspector and attorney.

"Chief O'Toole has earned an international reputation for her ability to lead and inspire officers, change and reform a department and work with communities from the ground up to reduce crime in urban neighborhoods," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology committee.

O'Toole's top four priorities are: 1) restoring public trust, 2) restoring SPD pride and professionalism, 3) addressing crime and quality of life issues, and 4) promoting best business practices. O'Toole has committed during the first 90 days to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the police department, which would culminate in a plan of action with measurable goals and objectives.

The Council also presented written expectations for O'Toole. Progress reports will be submitted to Council quarterly, beginning at the end of the third quarter of 2014. Council would like to see progress in these major areas: focused and proactive crime reduction using evidence-based methods to reduce the most serious neighborhood crime problems; positively change the culture at SPD and attitudes related to the practice of collecting and reporting the required data for the six new policies developed as part of the Settlement Agreement; build community relationships in all neighborhoods with a consistent visible presence; and, prioritize build out of the Business Intelligence System.

Council's confirmation vote concludes the City's six month-long process to find a new Police Chief. Mayor Murray launched a national search in January with an extensive public outreach plan that included seven community workshops throughout Seattle and an online forum to receive feedback. To reach non-English speaking communities, online and print advertisements were placed in Somali, African-American, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese publications.

The Mayor appointed community members to two committees. The Community Advisory Committee consisted of a 32-member panel representing the diverse communities of Seattle and assisted in providing feedback from a community perspective. Secondly, a 12-member Search Committee was formed to screen all applicants and tasked to present the Mayor with three finalists.

Council President Tim Burgess stated, "Chief O'Toole has the skillset, experience and personality to move our police department forward through a new era of reform and improvement. The women and men of the department who work tirelessly on our behalf yearn for the clear leadership and direction Chief O'Toole will bring."

"What an opportunity! I welcome Ms. O'Toole'sapproach to building neighborhood-specific policing plans," said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. "She will be a great partner to those of us working to make downtown and our other neighborhoods safe and welcoming for everyone. I am delighted she has been selected to lead the Seattle Police Department and look forward to making Seattle a positive model for cooperative policing."

"I'm looking forward to Chief O'Toole taking over," said Councilmember Sally J. Clark. "She's demonstrated great leadership and accomplishment in her career leading to this step. I'm impressed with her depth of knowledge and commitment to high caliber policing and safe neighborhoods in Seattle."

"A rigorous search revealed the best candidate for Seattle's next police chief as Kathleen O'Toole," said Councilmember Jean Godden. "It is a proud day for Seattle to confirm such a qualified leader, and a woman, as police chief."

"We have hired O'Toole for one major task: reform our police department. The Council's task is to help her succeed," said Councilmember Nick Licata. "If she does, we will have more responsive and effective policing in our city."

The Mayor announced O'Toole as his appointee on May 19. The Public Safety committee conducted three confirmation meetings: June 4, June 11 and June 12. The June 11th meeting was held offsite in the community at New Holly Gathering Hall. As part of the extensive outreach process, the committee sent approximately one thousand emails to community groups and ethnic minority groups asking for feedback and making them aware of the police chief confirmation process. Feedback was also solicited on Council's Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Chief of Police will manage an annual operating budget of approximately $290 million and will be responsible for leading and managing 2,000 employees at SPD.

For more information regarding Kathleen O'Toole, please visit the following links:

[View in Council Newsroom]


Statement by Councilmember Harrell on Mayor’s appointment of Kathleen O’Toole as Chief of Police

City of Seattle

Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell

Statement by Councilmember Harrell on Mayor's appointment of Kathleen O'Toole as Chief of Police

Seattle - Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council's Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the Mayor's appointment of Kathleen O'Toole as Chief of Police:

"I had the opportunity to meet Ms. O'Toole during the preliminary interview process, and she impressed me with her proven record in changing and reforming a department, her confidence, and her ability to lead and inspire officers.

"The Council's Public Safety committee will now conduct a thorough and transparent confirmation process and consider public feedback at each committee hearing. Council will turn over every rock to ensure this is the bold, transformative leader Seattle is looking for in its next Police Chief. The committee will move with a sense of urgency, and I anticipate that Council will vote on confirmation by the end of June.

"I look for the new Chief of Police to 1) embrace and implement new technologies like body cameras to enhance police accountability and public safety; 2) implement a new Business Intelligence System that will function as a police performance management tool and early intervention system, with centralized software tools for data-driven policing to reduce crime and predict where crime is likely to occur; 3) review and assess the Department's management, organizational structure, and resource deployment; and 4) communicate and engage with minority communities and ensure the diversity of Seattle's neighborhoods are well represented in the department.

"Most importantly, the Chief must bring the department to full compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Settlement Agreement and translate the DOJ policies into the routine of the day-to-day operations of the officers.

"The police department must commit to be a learning organization; a department willing to admit its mistakes and be honest and transparent with the public and proactively police their sworn duties under the new use of force policies.

"The Mayor, City Council, and City Attorney are all committed to working together and providing the necessary resources that will help the incoming Chief bring the department into the 21st century.

"I would also like to thank all the candidates who saw Seattle as an exciting and extraordinary opportunity to be its next Police Chief."

Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Chief of Police Webpage

Tentative Schedule (subject to change):

Wednesday, June 4, 2:00 p.m. in Council Chambers
Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee
Kathleen O'Toole will appear, make opening comments, and respond to initial questions from Councilmembers. Public comment will be accepted at the beginning of the meeting.

Thursday, June 12, 5:30 p.m. at offsite neighborhood location, TBD
Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee Public Hearing on appointment

Wednesday, June 25, 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers
Kathleen O'Toole will appear and complete final round of questioning from Councilmembers.
Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee meeting and vote on confirmation.

Monday, June 30, 2:00 p.m. in Council Chambers
Full Council Final Action on Confirmation

[View in Council Newsroom]


Councilmember Licata Statement on Seattle Police Chief Announcement

City of Seattle

Councilmember Nick Licata

Councilmember Licata Statement on Seattle Police Chief Announcement

SEATTLE - Councilmember Nick Licata issued the following statement this morning in response to the Mayor's announcement regarding Seattle's Police Chief:

"I thank Mayor Murray for conducting a thorough search for our new police chief. I hope the Council can confirm Kathleen O'Toole as expediently as possible. I strongly support the Mayor selecting who he thinks will best serve the city. The Council's role is to hold the Mayor responsible for that decision and the new chief's performance."

[View in Council Newsroom]


Councilmember Harrell Statement on Assistant Chief Pugel Retirement

City of Seattle

Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell

Councilmember Harrell Statement on Assistant Chief Pugel Retirement

Seattle - Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council's Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee, issued the following statement today in response to the announcement that Assistant Chief Jim Pugel will retire:

"I thank Jim for his three decades of dedicated service, protecting and serving the great people of Seattle. Jim will be remembered as one of the best officers to ever serve the Seattle Police department. Graduating from the University of Washington and living in Seattle all of his life, without a doubt, Jim was committed to creating the best police department in the country. In my time and work with Jim, he has always been honest and direct. I appreciated his candor and outcome driven approach in keeping this city safe. I wish him the best in his next endeavors."

[View in Council Newsroom]