SPD's new interim chief not sure if he'll seek job permanently

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 10 at 6:40 PM

Seattle police's new interim chief says he's still thinking about whether he'll seek to keep the position on a permanent basis.

Assistant chief Jim Pugel says chief John Diaz approached him a week and a half ago, and told him he'd be retiring, and that Pugel would be appointed to take over, at least temporarily.

"Ultimately, it was the mayor's decision," said Pugel.

Pugel says he never asked why he was chosen over at least two other higher ranking candidates.

"I don't think I really asked that," said Pugel. "I really was interested in what it would look like, what he was expecting, and where he wanted the department to go."

Pugel said it was too early to say what if anything he will do differently from his predecessor, but he hinted at a new attitude toward the reforms demanded by the Department of Justice.

"Now that I understand it, I did a lot of review on it and was fortunate to talk with the monitor team, I believe it will be a good thing," he said.

Pugel's career with the department spans 30 years. He steadily climbed the ranks from reserve officer in 1981 to assistant chief in 2000.

He believes one way to improve SPD's image is making sure every contact between officer and civilian goes down as positively as possible.

"I really believe in engaging with the community, those who like you, those who don't know you, and those who initially profess they don't trust you or believe you're doing the right thing," he said.

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