Interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel will step down from that job as early as Wednesday, and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray plans to name former SPD Assistant Chief Harry Bailey to run the department while a nationwide search is conducted for a permanent chief, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the mayor’s plans.
It’s unclear whether Pugel will return to his previous position of assistant chief, the sources said.
Pugel has made it clear he hopes to be selected as permanent police chief, but sources told KING 5 that Pugel was recently informed that the new chief will probably be selected from outside the department.
Murray was advised before he took office that Pugel should be required to step down from the top job if he wants to be considered as a candidate for the permanent position, according to multiple sources who spoke with KING 5 on the condition of anonymity. The advice to Murray came from organizations with a direct interest in SPD's operations, the sources said. The groups told Murray that it would make it very hard for the city to attract strong candidates from outside Seattle if the established interim chief at SPD was also vying for the job.
Pugel took over as interim chief last April when John Diaz stepped down. Since then Pugel has shaken up the top ranks. He demoted Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer and Deputy Chief Nick Metz to assistant chiefs. Last month, Pugel further demoted Metz to the rank of captain. Another assistant chief, Dick Reed, voluntarily took a demotion to captain.
Calls seeking comment from Chief Pugel were not returned. Murray’s office declined to comment through spokesman Jeff Reading.
Harry Bailey recently worked for former Mayor Mike McGinn as a consultant on SPD reform. He joined the force 1971 and moved up through the ranks, retiring in 2007 to take a job as security director for the Seattle SuperSonics. After the Sonics left Seattle for Oklahoma City in 2009, Bailey continued to work for the team.