Command Staff

Chief of Police Kathleen O'Toole

Kathleen O'Toole

Chief of Police

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Chief Kathleen O'Toole was sworn in as Chief of the Seattle Police Department on June 23rd, 2014.

Chief O'Toole is a career police officer and lawyer who has earned an international reputation for her principled leadership and reform strategies. In 2012, Ms. O'Toole completed a six-year term as Chief Inspector of the Gardia Síochána Inspectorate, an oversight body responsible for bringing reform, best practice and accountability to the 17,000 member Irish national police service.

Prior to serving in Ireland, Ms. O'Toole rose through the ranks of local and state policing in the United States. During her police career, she was assigned to numerous patrol, investigative, undercover, supervisory and management positions. She served as Superintendent (Chief) of the Metropolitan District Commission Police and Lieutenant Colonel overseeing Special Operations in the Massachusetts State Police. She was later appointed Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety (1994) and Boston Police Commissioner (2004).

Deputy Chief Carmen Best

Deputy Chief Carmen Best

Deputy Chief

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Deputy Chief Carmen Best oversees the Patrol Operations, Criminal Investigations, Special Operations Bureau, and the Community Outreach section.

Carmen Best has worked for the Seattle Police Department since 1992.  Her assignments include Uniformed Patrol, School Safety, Department Spokeswomen, Patrol Supervisor, Media Relations Supervisor, Watch Commander, Operations Lieutenant, Narcotics Proactive Commander, Robbery/Gangs/Fugitive Commander, Community Outreach Commander, South Precinct Commander, and Assistant Chief of the Criminal Investigations Bureau and Deputy Chief of Police.

Carmen has a B.A. from Western Illinois University and a certificate in Police Management from the University of Washington and a certificate in Criminal Justice Education from the University of Virginia.  She completed the Senior Management Institute for Police in 2006, the FBI National Academy in 2010 and the Criminal Justice Executive Leadership Academy in 2013.  She received the 2015 "Newsmaker of the Year" award from the Seattle Black Press.  In 2016, she completed the Major City Chiefs Association, Police Executive Leadership Institute.

She is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Latino Police Officers Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the FBI National Academy Associates.  She is also on the trustee board for Lakeside School. 

Carmen is married and has two daughters.

Chief Operating Officer Brian Maxey

Brian Maxey

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

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The Chief Operating Officer (COO) oversees Administrative Services, the Compliance and Professional Standards Section, Field Support Bureau, as well as the Budget, Human Resources, Information Technology, Strategic Policy and Planning and Public Affairs sections.

Brian G. Maxey serves the Chief Operating Officer of the Seattle Police Department. He most recently served as Senior Police Counsel, managing the legal affairs of the department with an emphasis on compliance.He also served as a Supervising Assistant City Attorney at the Seattle City Attorney's Office, where he was lead attorney for the Police Action Team, specializing in 42 U.S.C. 1983 litigation and general advice to the Seattle Police Department; as Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Special Federal Litigation Unit of the New York City Law Department, representing the New York City Police Department; and as Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Justice Division of the Washington State Attorney General's Office, representing WA Department of Corrections and the Criminal Justice Training Commission.

Previously, Brian worked in New York City for the Vera Institute of Justice, concentrating on jury and juvenile court reform; as Director of the Citizens Jury Project at the Fund for Modern Courts; and as Executive Director of Friends of Hudson River Park.

Brian holds a JD from Fordham University, an MPA in Policy from New York University, and a BA from Occidental College. He is licensed to practice law in Washington and New York.

Assistant Chief Steve Wilske

Steve Wilske

Assistant Chief - Patrol Operations Bureau

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 Assistant Chief Steve Wilske commands the Patrol Operations Bureau.

Steve Wilske has served for over 28 years with the Seattle Police Department. He started his career as a Patrol Officer in the West Precinct, followed by assignments in the Mountain Bike Squad and Mounted Unit. He has commanded the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) and HNT (Hostage Negotiations Team), Robbery , Gangs, Homicide and Crime Scene Investigations unit. In 2013, he oversaw the creation of the new Force Investigations Team (FIT), and chaired the department's Force Review Board.

Prior to serving as Assistant Chief, Wilske commanded the Southwest Precinct. Wilske has an Associate of Applied Science degree in commercial diving from Highline Community College.

Assistant Chief Robert Merner

Robert Merner

Assistant Chief - Criminal Investigations Bureau

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Assistant Chief Robert Merner commands the Criminal Investigations Bureau.

Robert M. Merner joined the Seattle Police Department after 28 years in the Boston Police Department. Merner has 22 years of investigative experience, holding every rank in the BPD's Investigative Bureau. As a commander of the BPD Criminal Investigation Division, Merner oversaw the Homicide, Fugitive, Crime Scene Response and Forensic units, as well as the Firearms Discharge Investigation Team, which reviews all officer-involved shootings.

In 2008, Merner collaborated with the Boston Bar Association Task Force to improve police investigations and prevent wrongful convictions. He has Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University, and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy. He is also a four-time recipient of the Boston Police Department Medal of Honor.

Assistant Chief Perry Tarrant

Perry Tarrant

Assistant Chief - Special Operations Bureau

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Assistant Chief Perry Tarrant commands the Special Operations Bureau.

Perry Tarrant has 34 years of law enforcement experience with the Tucson Police Department. He started his career working patrol, and also held assignments in canine, SWAT, bomb squad, aviation, and internal affairs. In 2014, Tarrant was appointed to coordinate the City of Yakima's Gang Free Initiative's prevention and intervention programs and to act as the city's Emergency Preparedness Director.

Tarrant has a Master's from Northern Arizona University (NAU), a Certificate of Graduate Study in Criminal Justice from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Arizona. He holds additional certificates from the FBI National Academy, Senior Management Institute for Police, NOBLE Law Enforcement CEO, and is a FEMA certified Incident Commander/Instructor. Tarrant also serves as the President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).

Assistant Chief Lesley Cordner

Lesley Cordner

Assistant Chief - Compliance and Professional Standards Bureau.

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Assistant Chief Lesley Cordner commands the Compliance and Professional Standards Bureau.

Lesley Cordner joined the Seattle Police Department in 1989.  She has worked a variety of assignments in Patrol, Community Policing, the Domestic Violence Unit, the Office of Professional Accountability, Traffic Collision Investigations Squad, North Precinct Operations, and most recently as an Aide to Chief O'Toole.

Cordner is originally from Ireland, and has lived in the greater Seattle area since emigrating to the United States. She graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. Upon graduating, she worked for the Boeing Company and Seattle City Light as a mechanical engineer before joining the department.

Director Mike Fields

Mike Fields

Director - Human Resources

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Director Mike Fields leads the Department's Human Resources Section. After practicing as a litigator in the private practice of law, Fields joined the Seattle Police Department in 2002 as the Employment Risk Manager, where he provided legal advice on a wide range of employment matters.  In 2004 he became the Department's labor negotiator, serving as chief spokesperson in all negotiations involving the Department's labor organizations.  In 2014 Fields was promoted to Human Resources Director where he oversees all aspects of the human resources function, including recruiting/hiring, backgrounding, labor and employee relations, performance management, EEO investigations, classification and compensation, benefits and payroll.  Fields received his law degree from The University of San Diego.

Attorney Rebecca Boatright

Rebecca Boatright

Attorney - Senior Police Counsel

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Senior Police Counsel Rebecca Boatright serves as legal advisor to the Chief and manages the legal affairs of the department, with an emphasis on compliance. Prior to joining the department, Becca served 14 years as an Assistant City Attorney in the Civil Division of the Seattle City Attorney's Office, most recently as a supervisor in the Torts Section and the City's lead attorney on implementation of the Federal Consent Decree. Becca holds both a J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington and a BA from the College of Wooster.

CFO Mark Baird

Mark Baird

Chief Financial Officer

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As CFO, Mark Baird oversees Budget, Administrative Services (including Fiscal), Facilities, Jail Coordination, and manages significant departmental projects. He came to the department after servings as a City Council Central Staff policy analyst for public safety. He started in law enforcement as a deputy sheriff for the Pierce County Sheriff's Office. He transitioned into crime analysis and served as a crime analyst and later the analytical supervisor and ComStat coordinator for the Collier County Sheriff's Office and had a similar role in the Portland Police Bureau. During a stint in graduate school he was a research fellow for the Broward County Sheriff's Office. Mark returned to the Northwest and was the programs/operations analyst for the Snohomish County Department of Corrections and later was appointed as the Chief of Administration - where he oversaw finance, records, HR, and public disclosure. When the department was absorbed into the Sheriff's Office Mark was appointed Corrections Bureau Chief for the Office. He was also an adjunct instructor at Clackamas Community College in Oregon and at Portland State University, where he taught and crime and intelligence analysis, crime mapping using GIS, statistics, and research methods.

Mark has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Central Washington University, a Masters degree in Public Administration from Florida Gulf Coast University, and a Doctorate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Director Pierce Murphy

Pierce Murphy

Director of the Office of Professional Accountability

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Pierce Murphy is the Director of the Office of Professional Accountability

Previously, Pierce spent over 14 years as the Community Ombudsman for the City of Boise in Idaho. As Boise's first ombudsman, Pierce created Idaho's first and only civilian oversight of law enforcement agency. In 1972 he began working in law enforcement in both civilian and sworn positions. After receiving his baccalaureate and master degrees, Pierce started a successful career in human resource management and consulting. Pierce has been active professionally in the field of civilian oversight of law enforcement and has advised cities and counties across the United States on this topic.

Mr. Murphy has been the OPA Director in Seattle since July 1, 2013.

He is a past president and former member of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) and frequent speaker at their annual training conference. Pierce has always been an active volunteer in his community and a proud member of Rotary since 1988.


  • Santa Clara University - Bachelor of Science in Commerce - 1978
  • Gonzaga University - Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology - 1984
  • Loyola University of New Orleans - Master of Pastoral Studies - 2000
CAO Valarie Anderson

Valarie Anderson

Chief Administrative Officer

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Valarie Anderson is the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and oversees the Fiscal, Property and Fleets, Research Grants & Corporate Support, Data Center, and Records & Public Requests Sections.

Valarie Anderson began her career with the Seattle Police Department in September 1990 as the Fiscal Manager where she managed accounts payable, accounts receivable, grants accounting, forfeiture accounting, cash accounting, and departmental purchasing. In May 2001, she was promoted to Director of Fiscal Property & Fleet where she continued her leadership and management role in all aspects of accounting and purchasing and worked closely with the departmental budget.

In addition, she was responsible for the effective and efficient management of all departmental vehicles and motor pool operations; as well as for the provision of logistical support, equipment, and supplies for all departmental employees during routine and special events. Valarie was promoted to CAO effective April 2008.


Valarie graduated from Northeast Louisiana University with a BA in Accounting in 1979 and from City University in 1998 with a Masters of Public Administration. She has been a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Washington since 1985 and is a current member of the Washington State Society of Certified Public Accountants. Valarie is an alumnus of City of Seattle's Advanced Management Program and a 2010 graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police at Boston University.

Director Barb Graff

Barb Graff

Director - Office of Emergency Management

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Barb Graff is the Director of Seattle Office of Emergency Management Director Barb Graff's responsibilities include managing the multi-hazard interdepartmental emergency management program for the City of Seattle and coordinating its relation to other emergency response agencies and community groups. The program encompasses all phases of integrated emergency management including preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery.

Ms. Graff has been the Seattle Director since June of 2005.
A native of Puget Sound, before coming to Seattle, Ms. Graff served in a similar capacity for the City of Bellevue for 21 years. Under her leadership, Bellevue's emergency management program served as the pilot for the national Emergency Management Accreditation process. Ms. Graff has managed the response to a number of Presidentially declared disasters and has a depth of experience with full-scale and functional exercises.

Boards and Committees

Ms. Graff currently chairs the national Emergency Management Program Review Committee and serves on the Emergency Management Accreditation Commission. Ms Graff serves on the King County Advisory Committee on Emergency Management and Regional Homeland Security Council. She is a member of the Washington State Emergency Management Association and the International Association of Emergency Management. She co-chairs the Board of Directors for the Washington Information Network 2-1-1 (WIN 2-1-1) information referral system.


Ms. Graff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the University of Washington.

Chief Strategic Advisor Christopher Fisher

Christopher Fisher

Chief Strategic Advisor

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Christopher Fisher is the Chief Strategic Advisor to the Chief of Police. Most recently he was Senior Policy Advisor at the Council of State Governments Justice Center with a focus on law enforcement issues. Prior to the Justice Center, Chris worked throughout the New York City justice system. As Director of Analysis and Integrated Solutions in the New York City Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice he coordinated interagency efforts to solve criminal justice challenges. Chris has served in similar capacities for other New York City criminal justice agencies, including the New York City Police Department, the Department of Probation, the Administration for Children's Services, and the former Department of Juvenile Justice.

Chris holds a doctorate in criminal justice from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, a master's degree in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of Virginia.