Assistant Seattle Police Chief Robert Merner is heading back east to head the police department in Portsmouth, N.H. Merner will remain in Seattle another month and will assist in selecting his successor.
Assistant Police Chief Robert Merner is leaving Seattle to head up the police department in Portsmouth, N.H., Chief Kathleen O’Toole announced Friday.
Merner, 57, left the Boston Police Department, where he was superintendent of the Bureau of Investigative Services, to join O’Toole in leading the Seattle Police Department (SPD) in April 2015. He led SPD’s Criminal Investigations Bureau and was behind the launch of the Real Time Crime Center, a technology center aimed at providing police with information to identify crime patterns and hot spots.
Merner is a new grandfather and with his family still in New England, Merner’s new job will bring him closer to his first home, O’Toole said in a statement posted on SPD’s online blotter.
Portsmouth is about 60 miles north of Boston.
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Merner will remain in Seattle for another month to help with the transition and selection of his successor, according to O’Toole.
In a statement, Merner wrote:
“This news is bittersweet. I am proud of the men and women of the Seattle Police Criminal Investigations Bureau. Your relentless pursuit of criminals has reduced crime, making Seattle a better place for those who live and work here.
“I appreciate the opportunity that Chief Kathy O’Toole has given me. While I won’t be cheering for the Seahawks, I will miss Seattle and will take with me lifelong friendships,” his statement says.
A former Boston detective, Merner and a now-retired colleague provided the inspiration for Mark Wahlberg’s character in the movie “Patriot’s Day,” about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and manhunt.