After a recent shake-up in the Seattle Police Department’s top command, four recently demoted assistant chiefs have been handed other assignments.
Four former assistant chiefs in the Seattle Police Department recently demoted to captain in a major overhaul of the top command staff have been reassigned.
The assignments, along with other moves, were listed in a department email sent Monday evening by Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.
Paul McDonagh, who previously served as assistant chief of special operations, including homeland security, will become East Precinct commander. Pierre Davis, who has headed the precinct, will move to the same position in the Southwest Precinct.
Robin Clark, who was the assistant chief of investigations, will take over the Metro Section, which includes K-9, Harbor Patrol and SWAT.
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Tag Gleason, who oversaw compliance with federally mandated reforms to curb excessive force and biased policing, will handle community outreach.
Mike Washburn, the previous assistant chief of field operations, will become South Precinct commander, with the current commander of the precinct, Capt. David Proudfoot, moving to the training unit. The field-operations position remains unfilled.
Washburn is the ninth South Precinct commander since 2006, turnover that has drawn some criticism from a community activist in the past.
On March 11, O’Toole announced that, as part of changes in the command staff, she was bringing in two people from outside the department to serve as assistant chiefs, ending a decades-long practice of filling the posts with officers who made their way up the ranks.
Robert Merner, the high-ranking chief of detectives in the Boston Police Department, will assume the same job in Seattle.
Perry Tarrant, a former Tucson, Ariz., police official and head of Yakima’s gang-free initiative and emergency preparedness, will head special operations.
Both will begin their jobs April 15.
O’Toole also took the rare action of promoting a department lieutenant, Lesley Cordner, to assistant chief, a job that typically goes to a captain. Cordner will oversee the reform effort.
In a more traditional move, O’Toole promoted Southwest Precinct Capt. Steve Wilske to assistant chief in charge of patrol operations. The position has taken on greater significance since 2012, when the city entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department to adopt the reforms.
The demotions returned the four previous chiefs to their civil-service rank of captain.
Former Assistant Chief Nick Metz, who previously oversaw patrol operations, recently left to become the police chief in Aurora, Colo.
Among the other moves, Capt. Sean O’Donnell was named to head the North Precinct, while the current commander, Capt. Dave Emerick, moves to the narcotics section.