Citizens weigh in on Seattle's next police chief



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Posted on January 28, 2014 at 11:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 29 at 6:56 AM

SEATTLE -- The people of Seattle have started weighing in on what they want in their next police chief.

At the first of seven community workshops to be held around the city over the next ten days, citizens from the University District told workshop leaders that they want the mayor to choose an innovative leader, someone well connected to the community, someone who will go into the neighborhoods and listen to feedback, someone who will embrace reform, not fight it.

"This new police chief, can't be the parochial--this is the way we do it, there's no change -- that’s not the answer to the city and our community,” said University District resident Kent Wills.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray sent a loud message when he brought in retired Assistant Chief Harry Bailey earlier this month, to run the department as Interim Police Chief until a permanent chief is selected. Bailey is not applying for the job, a condition set by the mayor.

In just three weeks, Bailey has cleaned house in the top ranks and a established a compliance bureau to ensure that the reforms outlined in a Consent Decree between the City of Seattle and the Department of Justice are getting done.  

The federal monitor overseeing the reforms recently issued a scathing report, saying the police department was slow to change, in part because of resistance in the top ranks.

Across the country, law enforcement leaders are watching what’s happening in Seattle and checking out the opportunities.

"I think we don't lack candidates (for the chief’s job).  This is a wonderful city to live in,” said Ron Sims, co-chair of the Seattle Police Chief Search Committee.

Sources tell KING 5 that close to two dozen people have already expressed interest in the police chief’s position and the application process hasn’t even opened yet.  The mayor is expected to name a search firm later this week.