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Mayoral Candidates React To Seattle Police Chief Resignation

Seattle Channel

Seattle Chief of Police John Diaz announced his retirement today after 33 years with the department.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle Police Chief made the announcement Monday to reporters with 30 minutes' notice.

The chief, the officers' guild, the mayor and the city attorney have been in public conflict during the development of a federal plan to monitory use of force by Seattle police. Seattle is one of several cities to be observed under such a plan in the past decade. Diaz is one of several chiefs to have departed the post under monitoring.

McGinn appointed Diaz chief in 2010. He had been promoted to interim chief following the departure of Gil Kerlikowske for the Obama administration.

The mayor and Diaz announced his retirement weeks ahead of the filing deadline for the November mayoral election. Some candidates reacted today to the hastily-called announcement.

  • City Councilmember Tim Burgess: "It's time for new thinking outside the department." Burgess told KUOW a national search will attract the best candidates from beyond Seattle.
  • State Senator Ed Murray: "I worry that the political uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the mayor’s race will lead many top tier candidates to not apply." Murray said in a statement that an interim chief should hold the position until November, and that a national search should be launched after the city elects a new mayor.
  • City Councilmember Bruce Harrell: "I believe that first you look within your own ranks." Harrell told KUOW he does not necessarily believe that a search needs to go outside of the department.

McGinn introduced Assistant Chief Jim Pugel as the new interim chief. Diaz said he expected a transition period of about 30 to 45 days.
Diaz said he looked forward to seeing what a summer looks like after 36 years in police work.