Seattle could be on the verge of having a woman as chief of police.
No name has surfaced, but a woman is among four people who are being strongly considered for the job, according to two sources familiar with the search process.
After interviews with 10 applicants this week, Mayor Ed Murray’s search committee is focusing on the woman and three men, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
All four are from different states outside of Washington, one source said.
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If selected, the woman apparently would be the first female to head the department.
Retired Seattle Police Chief Patrick Fitzsimons, who led the department from 1979 to 1994, said Wednesday night that he couldn’t recall any woman as having held the job.
The search committee plans to conduct further research on the four, including out-of-town visits, as Murray also does his own vetting of each applicant, the source said.
By early May, the committee will submit a final list of top candidates to Murray, who eventually will make the names of three finalists public before announcing his choice the week of May 19.
Murray spokesman Jeff Reading declined to comment Wednesday, saying he couldn’t confirm the number of applicants now under consideration.
Pramila Jayapal, one of two co-chairs of the 12-member search committee, also declined to comment Wednesday.
The search committee, appointed by Murray after he took office in January, was shown the names of 39 applicants on April 11, according to sources.
A California search firm that reviewed applications set aside 19 of them because the individuals lacked full qualifications, but the committee was shown the names in case there was interest in any of them, the sources said.
From the remaining 20, the committee eliminated 10 people, including, sources said, Assistant Seattle Police Chief Nick Metz.
Of the remaining 10, all were from out of state.
The removal of Metz’s name was not a surprise, considering the department’s leadership has come under scrutiny and criticism after the city’s 2012 settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to curb excessive force and biased policing.
Murray hasn’t ruled out any applicants. But it has been generally anticipated in City Hall and the police department that, unlike four years ago, when insider John Diaz was selected, an outsider most likely would be chosen this time to lead the troubled department.
Diaz retired last year and then-Mayor Mike McGinn named Assistant Chief Jim Pugel to serve as interim chief.
After Murray took office, he replaced Pugel with a new interim chief, Harry Bailey, a former assistant Seattle chief who came out of retirement to head the department. Pugel recently retired from the department.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this story.
Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter @stevemiletich