Ed Murray, Mayor
1/8/2014 11:45:00 AM
Jeff Reading (206) 684-4000
Megan Coppersmith (MO) (206) 684-8379
Mayor Ed Murray names Harry Bailey as new interim police chief, launches search for next permanent chief
Describing the process for hiring a permanent Seattle Chief of Police and the process for fulfilling the terms of the Seattle Police Department’s 2012 consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice as “on a collision course with one another,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today made several announcements intended “to straighten both paths and better position our department and our community for the successful reform of our police force.”
Murray said that he has appointed Harry Bailey as the Seattle Police Department’s new Interim Chief of Police, effective today. Bailey will replace Jim Pugel, who has been interim chief for the past nine months. Bailey’s charge from the Mayor is to give the highest priority to implementing needed reforms in the Seattle Police Department and to satisfying the terms of the federal settlement agreement, which include ensuring bias-free policing and addressing the excessive use of force. Pugel will return to the rank of Assistant Chief, where he is assigned to develop promising harm reduction approaches in the Seattle Police Department’s policing strategies.
“I support the Mayor’s decision to appoint Harry Bailey as Interim Chief,” said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes. “He is an outstanding choice and will help to prepare the department for badly needed reform.”
Bailey, who is not a candidate for the permanent position, has 35 years of experience as a law enforcement officer. He served in the Seattle Police Department from 1972 to 2007. He was Director of Security for the Seattle Sonics and the Oklahoma City Thunder and held a similar position as a volunteer for Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle.
“I support the bold decision to restructure the interim position in order to attract the best candidate for a new Police Chief,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology committee. “The new structure will signal that the position is open and unwired. Seattle deserves the best Police Chief in the country who will implement a strong public safety strategy and bring an unprecedented commitment to accountability and transparency.”
Murray said he is also initiating a dual-track search process to find the best candidate for the permanent police chief with the formation of two committees. A community advisory committee will seek the public’s input about the qualities it values in a Chief. Guided by the work of the advisory committee, a separate committee will conduct a national search to fill the position permanently. Pramila Jayapal and Ron Sims will co-chair both committees.
Jayapal is the Distinguished Taconic Fellow at the Center for Community Change and the founder and former Executive Director of One America, a non-profit that works to advance immigrant, civil and human rights. Sims is a former King County Executive, and former Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Community Advisory Committee will invite public input though a series of town hall forums starting on January 20 and a website that will launch today: http://seattle.gov/spd-chief-search. They will also use public feedback collected in earlier community surveys conducted by the Monitor of the settlement agreement and the Community Police Commission.
The search committee will work with the search firm to gather and screen applications using the input collected by the Community Advisory Committee, and conduct candidate interviews.
“It’s the most important decision I will make as Mayor, and it’s important that I get it right,” said Murray. “It’s also important that we move quickly. My goal is announce the new Chief by early April 2014. At the same time, we will engage the people of Seattle in a conversation about the qualities they would like to see in Seattle’s next Chief.”
- Tues, Jan. 28, 6-8 p.m., University Heights Center
- Wed, Jan. 29, 6-8 p.m., Garfield Community Center
- Thurs, Jan. 30, 6-8 p.m., Youngstown Cultural Arts Center
- Sat, Feb. 1, Noon-2 p.m., Van Asselt Community Center
In another appointment, Fe Lopez has been named by Mayor Murray as executive director of the Community Police Commission, which was created in a separate agreement with the Department of Justice to provide public input to the reforms proposed under the settlement agreement. Lopez is the former president of the Latino/a Bar Association of Washington and current director of alumni relations and annual fund at Seattle University’s School of Law.
The Mayor will issue a letter to the ranks of the Seattle Police Department introducing Chief Bailey and setting expectations.