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The decision by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s staff to not include interim Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best as a finalist in the police-chief search is a serious mistake.

I worked with Best for nine years and saw her leadership and professionalism come to the forefront throughout that time until I left the department at the request of President Obama to join his administration. She continued to excel and be promoted through the intervening years. Her reputation nationally as a police leader is exceptional, and the fact that she is an Army veteran is another important qualification.

To exclude her from further consideration sends a very negative message to the entire leadership of the Seattle Police Department and to the men and women who serve the public every day. This wrong decision flies in the face of the evidence when command personnel in the Seattle Police Department have been selected to be chiefs throughout the country.

Hopefully Mayor Durkan will reverse this decision and include the five finalists, including Carmen Best, in the pool of candidates.


R. Gil Kerlikowske, Washington, D.C., Seattle Police Chief, 2000-2009 (retired)