Mayoral candidates sound off about SPD, Chief

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 12:30 AM

SEATTLE -- As more candidates step into the Seattle mayor's race, voters hear more campaign promises. Tuesday Councilman Tim Burgess said if elected, he would make changes at the Seattle Police department.

"We will change the Chief of Police," said Burgess. "We'd take applications from whomever, but if I was leaning one way or another it would be someone outside the police department."
 
Burgess, who spent 7 years as a police officer before leaving the job in the 70's, said he wants Chief John Diaz out partly because he feels the police reform process has moved slowly. He said the department needs new thinking and someone who is not tied to the past.
 
Burgess' comments received criticism from Mayor Mike McGinn. McGinn's re-election campaign offered a statement Tuesday night.
 
"It was timed to score cheap political points. We need to work together on reform, not play politics with public safety," said John Wyble, McGinn's Campaign Consultant.
 
State Senator Ed Murray said the new leadership SPD needs is a new mayor, and Murray is running. 
 
"I would ask for the resignation of all the department heads and decide after a "stress test" who to retain," said Murray.
 
City councilmember Bruce Harrell officially joined the mayor's race Tuesday.
 
"I hear people talking about firing a chief or firing this person, that is not an answer toward inspiring an organization," said Harrell who added that the smart way to bring change is to build up, not tear down.
 
Candidate Charlie Staadecker said, "if elected I would thank Chief Diaz for his service and move forward to seek new leadership for our Police Department. We need someone who would put in place policies that create a sense of trust and transparency between our police and our citizens."

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