Murray: Police chief pick will be announced May 19


by KING 5 News

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Updated Friday, May 9 at 3:53 PM

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Friday that he has met twice with each of the three finalists to become the city's next chief of police and that he will announce his pick on May 19.

"Any one of these individuals could be chief of police of Seattle. And every one of these individuals will soon be chief of police of a major city," Murray said at a morning news conference at City Hall.

A search committee of public officials and community leaders recommended two men and one woman for the top SPD job -- Elk Grove (Calif.) Police Chief Robert Lehner, Mesa (Ariz.) Police Chief Frank Milstead, and former Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole.

Murray said he met with the candidates separately on different days this week. He said the process included a formal interview lasting a few hours, as well as a dinner meeting.

The mayor complemented the search committee that recommended the three. "I have three incredible candidates. I can't go wrong," Murray said.

Murray said he believes each of the candidates could implement the police reform plan required under the 2012 consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department.

"The question is who is going to work best with the community, who's going to work best with the police force," Murray said. He cited New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, a noted leader in police reform, who said the best chief is one who has "a fairly good working relationship with the mayor.

The mayor said he plans to continue reviewing materials on the three candidates and speaking to people in the communities they currently serve.

Asked what trait he believes is most important for the new chief to have, Murray said: "Transparency, communications skills ... [a]nd a fairly articulate vision about how to execute police reform."

-- KING 5's Linda Brill and Russ Walker contributed.