Seattle charter change would require reconfirmation of police chief

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by ,KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Embattled Seattle Police Chief John Diaz would have to get periodic performance reviews if voters approve a proposed change to the city's charter.

It's being introduced by City Council Member and mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell, who thinks the Chief job needs more oversight.

"It’s an effort to evaluate him on measurable and articulatable criteria, which is really not done. How do we measure this most important role? It’s very vague,” said Harrell.

After highly publicized incidents of police misconduct and the Department of Justice mandated police reforms, Diaz has been highly criticized.

In Tuesday’s State of the City address, Mayor Mike McGinn praised the work of the Police Department.

"Compared to 2009 violent crime is down. Property crime is down. In fact crime is at a 30 year low,” he said.

Diaz is on vacation, but his deputy chiefs were watching the speech.

On the idea of the council re-confirming the chief?

"You want a police chief that is not making decisions on what is necessarily popular but what is right,” said Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer. “It's always about doing the right thing and that isn’t always the most popular thing.”

Harrell says it’s not politically motivated.

Another council mayoral candidate, Tim Burgess, has stated he would replace Diaz.

And Peter Steinbrueck, another candidate, says he favors re-confirmation.

"I don’t think there’s anyone who should be exempt from a performance review in city government," said Steinbrueck.

Diaz is one of the few department heads who is not reviewed and reconfirmed by the city council.

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