A week after being appointed, Interim Seattle Police Chief Harry Bailey has begun reorganizing the department’s senior command staff as the fallout from federally mandated reforms continues.
Bailey announced Wednesday the promotion of Acting Assistant Chief Robin Clark to the permanent rank, and the promotions of Captains Joe Kessler and Tag Gleason to assistant chiefs.
Bailey, a former Seattle police assistant chief who came out of retirement, was named to the interim post by new Mayor Ed Murray.
Murray gave Bailey wide latitude to make changes in the command staff as part of the mayor’s goal to push forward with court-ordered reforms to curb excessive force and biased policing in the Police Department.
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On Monday, Assistant Chief Mike Sanford informed the department he planned to retire March 31 and take immediate leave before then.
Bailey is deciding whether to retain Assistant Chief Clark Kimerer, a longtime member of the command staff, according to sources familiar with the changes. If removed, Kimerer could return to the rank of captain or retire.
The command staff earlier underwent a major shake-up when the previous interim chief, Jim Pugel, announced in November the demotions of Assistant Chiefs Nick Metz and Dick Reed to captain. Those moves came shortly after the federal monitor overseeing the reforms sharply criticized the pace of the changes.
Pugel was returned to the rank of assistant chief last week, with a special assignment to develop “harm reduction” policing. He had previously announced he would seek the permanent job, something Murray didn’t want from his interim chief.
Sanford, Kimerer, Metz, Reed and Pugel all served as key members of the command staff as the department underwent intense scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice since 2011, after a series of high-profile confrontations between officers and citizens that included the fatal shooting of First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams.
Robin Clark, who joined the department in 1976, was captain of the North Precinct before being named an acting assistant chief. She was appointed to that post last year when Pugel became interim chief after the retirement of Police Chief John Diaz.
With her promotion, she will become the second woman on the command staff, joining Carmen Best, who replaced Metz and commands the Criminal Investigations Bureau.
It will mark the first time the department has two women serving as full assistant chiefs.
Kessler, who joined the department in 1981, has been serving as captain of the Southwest Precinct.
Gleason, who joined the department in 1978, heads the unit that investigates Internet crimes against children. He previously served as captain of the department’s Office of Professional Accountability, which handles internal investigations.
It was not immediately clear to what roles Kessler and Gleason will be assigned.
Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter @stevemiletich