King County Executive Dow Constantine announced three candidates Thursday to be the county’s next top law enforcement officer, choosing the county’s interim sheriff, as well as two police officers from Southern police departments.

The three finalists are King County interim Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall; Charles Kimble, chief of police in Killeen, Texas; and Reginald Moorman, a major in the Atlanta Police Department.

The county’s nationwide search, launched last fall, yielded 12 applicants for the sheriff position, Constantine’s office said. Of those 12, seven completed a round of interviews.

“Using priorities and criteria set by the Public Safety Advisory Committee, I am pleased we have identified three highly qualified finalists to be the next King County Sheriff,” Constantine said in a prepared statement. “Before I appoint the next Sheriff, I am eager to hear from the public and our KCSO employees as they meet the candidates and hear their vision for delivering high quality, professional, and equitable public safety.”

When Constantine named Cole-Tindall the interim sheriff last fall, both said she would not be a candidate for the permanent position.

“If I was part of the application process, I feel it would distract from the work that I think needs to be done,” Cole-Tindall said in November.

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Constantine’s office said at the time that Cole-Tindall would serve through the recruitment process “at which time a new Sheriff will be appointed.”

On Thursday, Constantine’s office directed questions to Cole-Tindall and said all three candidates would speak with the media next week.

“Sheriff Cole-Tindall informed the Executive of her changed plans prior to submitting her application and he welcomed her doing so,” Chase Gallagher, a Constantine spokesperson, wrote in an email.

Cole-Tindall, through a spokesperson, did not respond to requests for comment.

The finalists will go through further interviews with members of the county’s Public Safety Advisory Committee, county employees, labor representatives and officials from the cities that contract with the Sheriff’s Office. Those meetings will be closed to the public.

There will also be at least two public forums, held virtually. The first will be April 18 at 6 p.m., and the second April 21 at 9 a.m.

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Constantine hopes to make a choice in early May, which must be approved by the Metropolitan King County Council.

The county started the search last fall for its lead law enforcement officer after Constantine made clear that he would not be extending the term of then-Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht.

Cole-Tindall, 57, of Kent, has been interim sheriff since Jan. 1, after a long career in public service. Before assuming the top job, she served as undersheriff, the department’s No. 2, for a year and a half, and served as the department’s chief of technical services for almost five years.

She is the first person of color to serve as sheriff in Washington’s largest county.

She began her career in law enforcement in 1991 as a special agent with the Washington State Gambling Commission, a position for which she carried a gun and completed the state’s basic law enforcement academy. She moved to the state Employment Security Department, where she worked on investigations into fraud and theft of unemployment benefits.

She moved to King County government in 1998, working as an investigator in the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention. She was later an assistant director in the department’s Community Corrections Division.

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Constantine tabbed her in 2010 as the county’s director of Labor Relations, responsible for representing the county in collective bargaining. She was interim director of the county’s Office of Law Enforcement Oversight in 2014. She returned to law enforcement, joining the Sheriff’s Office in 2015.

Kimble, 52, has been police chief in Killeen, a city of about 145,000 people, since 2017 and has 30 years of law enforcement experience. A Milwaukee native and U.S. Army veteran, he began his law enforcement career with the Milwaukee Police Department, where he was an officer from 1992 to 1995.

In 1995, he moved to the Fayetteville, North Carolina, Police Department, where he first served as a school resource officer, before going on to a variety of positions. He was named assistant chief of the department in 2009. In 2014, he was named police chief and assistant vice chancellor at Fayetteville State University.

Two years later he became police chief in Spring Lake, North Carolina, before moving to Killeen a year later.

Moorman, 43, has been with the Atlanta Police Department most of his career. An Atlanta native, he began with the department in 2001, walking a foot beat. He became a sergeant in 2007 and a lieutenant in 2011.

In 2013, he was named deputy director of a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force — a joint local, state and federal group — focused on Georgia and the Carolinas. He was named captain in 2015 and major in 2020.

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He has previously been the senior Atlanta police officer at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons, and is currently the section commander at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He is an adjunct professor of criminal justice at Georgia State University, Atlanta Metropolitan State College and American Intercontinental University.

King County voters in 2020 voted to make sheriff an appointed, rather than elected, position for the first time in more than a quarter century. When Johanknecht’s term ended in January, Constantine named her deputy, Cole-Tindall, interim sheriff.

Part of the rationale for switching sheriff to an appointed position was that it would allow the county to conduct a much broader search. When it was an elected position, candidates were limited to those living in the area and, in practice, to those already working in the Sheriff’s Office.