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CHIEF OF POLICE - Kathleen O'Toole

Chief Kathleen O'Toole

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.

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DEPUTY CHIEF - Carmen Best

Assistant Chief Carmen Best

Deputy Chief Carmen Best oversees the Patrol Operations, Criminal Investigations, Special Operations Bureaus, 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.   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 on the trustee board for Lakeside School.

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COO Mike Wagers

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) oversees the Chief Administrative Officer, 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.

Mike most recently worked for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) as the Director of Law Enforcement Operations and Support. Mike has also served as the executive director of the Police Institute at Rutgers, and assistant professor at The Citadel. He also worked for BAE Systems in the information solutions sector. He has consulted with police departments across the country, including Los Angeles, Denver, and Milwaukee police departments. Mike received his Ph.D. from Rutgers.

PATROL OPERATIONS BUREAU - Assistant Chief Steve Wilske

Assistant Chief Steve Wilske

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.

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Assistant Chief Robert Merner

Assistant Chief Robert Merner commands the Criminal Investigations Section

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.

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SPECIAL OPERATIONS BUREAU - Assistant Chief Perry Tarrant

Assistant Chief Perry Tarrant

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.

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Assistant Chief Lesley Cordner

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.

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Director Valarie Anderson

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.

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Director Barb Graff

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.

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Director Peirce Murphy

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.

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SENIOR POLICE COUNSEL - Attorney Brian Maxey

Brian Maxey

Senior Police Counsel Brian G. Maxey serves as legal advisor to the Chief and manages the legal affairs of the department, with an emphasis on compliance. Previously, he 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. He has litigated almost 300 state and federal police and corrections cases and has appeared in a variety of courts, including the Western and Eastern Districts of Washington, the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court (on briefs).

Prior to his litigation career, 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.


Virginia Gleason

Viginia Gleason is the Chief Strategic Advisor to the Chief of Police. Previously she was the Manager of the Professional Standards Division for the King County Sheriff’s Office which included the Human Resources, Policy, Auditing, Background and Internal Investigations Units. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts and from the University Of Oregon School Of Law. Prior to working at the King County Sheriff’s Office, she served as a King County Senior Prosecuting Attorney, Senior Counsel to the Port of Seattle and the Administrative Manager of the Port of Seattle (SeaTac International Airport) Police Department during both WTO and September 11 events. She is an adjust professor at Seattle University School of Criminal Justice and chairs the Washington Association of Sheriff and Police Chiefs Legal Advisor Committee.

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