Seattle.gov Home Page
Seattle.gov This Department
Seattle City Clerk's Home Page Seattle City Clerk's Home Page Seattle City Clerk's About Us Page Seattle City Clerk's Contact Us Page
Online Information Resources
Search Collections Exhibits and Education Seattle Facts About the Archives

Seattle Facts
Brief History of Seattle
City Officials
Historical Election Results
Ballot Initiatives
City Symbols
Quick Information

Chief of Police

The 1869 City Charter established the Marshall as the City's peace officer. The Marshall was elected by the voters for a one year term.

1869 John T. Jordan  
1870-1872 L. V. Wyckoff  
1873 F. A. Minick  
1874 D. H. Webster  
1875 L. V. Wyckoff Also served as Assessor.
1876 R. H. Turnbull  
1877 E. A. Thorndyke  
1878 F. A. Minick  
1879 E. A. Thorndyke  
1880-1881 J. H. McGraw Also served as Fire Warden. Resigned in 1881 when elected King County Sheriff.
1882-1883 J. H. Woolery  

An 1883 City Charter Amendment abolished the position of Marshall and created the new position of Chief of Police. The Chief was elected by the voters of the City for a one-year term.

1884-1886 J. H. Woolery Woolery was dismissed by the Mayor on June 15, 1885, but was reelected on July 27.
1886-1887 William M. Murphy  
1888-1889 J. C. Mitchell Mitchell was removed from office on April 12, 1889.
1889 O. D. Butterfield  
1890 George C. Monroe  

The Freeholders City Charter of 1890 created a five-member Board of Police Commissioners to oversee the operations of the Police Department. The Commission, chaired by the Mayor, had authority to appoint the Chief of Police.

1891-1892 Bolton Rogers  
1893 Andrew Jackson Resigned during the year.
1893-1894 D. F. Willard  
1895-1896 Bolton Rogers  

The Freeholders City Charter of 1896 abolished the Board of Police Commissioners and gave the Mayor the authority to appoint and remove the Police Chief.

1897-1900 C. S. Reed  
1901 William Meredith  
1901-1903 John Sullivan  
1904-1905 Thomas R. Delaney  
1906-1907 Charles W. Wappenstein  
1908-1909 Irving Ward  
1910 Charles W. Wappenstein  
1911-1913 C. G. Bannick  
1914 Austin E. Griffiths  
1915-1916 Louis E. Lang  
1916-1917 C. F. Beckingham  
1918-1919 J. F. Warren  
1920-6/1922 W. H. Searing  
6/1922-6/1926 W. B. Severyns On June 23, 1924, acting Mayor Bertha Landes took control of the Police Department and removed Severyns and named Captain Bannick as acting chief. When Mayor Edwin Brown returned to town seven days later, he immediately reinstated Severyns.
6/1926-6/1928 W. H. Searing  
6/1928-7/1931 Louis J. Forbes  
7/1931-5/1932 William B. Kent Kent was appointed by Mayor Harlin when the latter took office following Mayor Edwards' recall. Kent retired less than a year later.
5/1932-6/1932 G. H. Comstock Comstock was appointed acting Police Chief by Mayor Harlin.
6/1932-6/1934 L. L. Norton  
6/1934-7/1934 George F. Howard Howard resigned following a disagreement with Mayor Smith over the handling of the longshoremen's strike.
7/1934-12/1934 George H. Comstock Comstock was dismissed by Mayor Smith after he resisted the Mayor's attempt to force retirement of older officers.
12/1934-1/1935 Mayor Charles Smith The Mayor assumed control of the Police Department with Walter B. Kirtley serving as inspector.
1/1935-4/1936 Walter B. Kirtley Kirtley was acting chief from January 17 to February 20. He was subsequently appointed Chief.

A City Charter Amendment in 1936 provided for the Chief of Police to be appointed for a five year term of office.

4/1936-5/1941 William H. Sears  
5/1941-6/1941 William H. Sears Reappointed for a five-year term, but failed to be confirmed by Council on a 4-5 vote, June 12, 1941.
6/1941 Walter B. Kirtley Mayor Millikin appointed Kirtley. When Millikin left town, acting Mayor Levine withdrew the appointment before confirmation and appointed Harlan Callahan.
7/1941 Harlan S. Callahan Millikin, upon return to the City, withdrew Callahan's name and appointed Kinsey who was confirmed unanimously.
7/1941-4/1946 Herbert D. Kinsey  

A new Freeholders City Charter was adopted March 12, 1946. Under its provisions, the term of the Chief of Police was not specified.

8/1946-4/1952 George D. Eastman  
4/1952-9/1952 Frank Ramon Served as acting police chief. Ramon resigned Sept. 25, 1952.
9/1952-1/1953 H. James Lawrence Lawrence was appointed acting chief, serving until he was appointed and confirmed as chief.
2/1953-1/1961 H. James Lawrence  
1/1961-11/1969 Frank Ramon Retired in Nov. 1969.
11/1969-7/1970 W. F. Moore Moore was acting chief until Gain was appointed acting chief.
7/1970-8/1970 C. R. Gain  
8/1970-9/1970 Edward Toothman Toothman was appointed interim chief until a permanent appointment was made.
9/1970-3/1974 George Tielsch Resigned March 15, 1974.
3/1974-3/1978 Robert Hanson Served as interim chief until his permanent appointment. Hanson resigned March 29, 1978.
3/1978-2/1979 H. A. Vanden Wyer  
2/1979-2/1994 Patrick Fitzsimons  
2/1994-2/2000 Norman Stamper  
2/2000-7/2000 Herb Johnson Served as acting chief.
7/2000-3/2009 Gil Kerlikowske Left to become the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
5/2009-4/2013 John Diaz Diaz served as interim chief until his permanent appointment in August 2010.
4/2013-1/2014 Jim Pugel Served as acting chief.
1/2014- Harry Bailey Served as acting chief.

This list is accurate to the best of our knowledge. Due to the high incidence of firings and resignations, it is possible that some dates are imprecise.