Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell will begin the search for a permanent police chief in April, but is still content with the leadership of interim Chief Adrian Diaz, according to Thursday announcement.
Harrell announced that he will begin the search for a permanent police chief to replace former Chief Carmen Best, who left at the end of 2020 after protests against police brutality, criticism and budget cuts. For the 17 months since then, Diaz, who joined the department in 1997, has served as interim chief.
“As we work to make immediate and long-term safety improvements at 12th and Jackson, 3rd Avenue, and neighborhoods citywide, I have been pleased with Interim Chief Diaz’s approach and commitment to progress on public safety,” Harrell said in the announcement. “Although I expect to conduct a robust search process, I encourage Interim Chief Diaz to apply.”
During his inaugural address in January, Harrell committed to “making some decisions” about the chief position in the first quarter of the year, and suggested he wanted to give Diaz time to perform.
“I believe I have to give everyone an opportunity to show some brilliance, show some talent,” Harrell said in January.
“He does not know what it looks like to work for a mayor like me, and I have to give him that opportunity.”
However, the city’s charter requires the mayor to conduct a search and name three finalists for the chief position. The selected finalist must then be approved by the City Council.
Harrell said Thursday he will hire a third-party firm to lead a nationwide search for candidates and appoint residents to a search committee for the position in April. The mayor’s office will also launch a website “providing an overview of the search process” and collecting public feedback on the search, according to the release.
According to a department spokesperson, Diaz is out of town at a conference and was not available for comment on Thursday.