Seattle residents, workers and business owners are calling for an emphasis on community and reduced 911 response times from the city’s next permanent police chief before the months-long search concludes this fall.

Mayor Bruce Harrell said he will make his appointment in a few weeks, after a search committee identifies finalists in September, followed by a public forum.

According to the mayor’s office, more than 1,300 people responded to a public survey about their priorities in identifying a new chief.

Knowledge of neighborhood concerns in Seattle and knowledge of community policing methods were the biggest issues among respondents, with about 62% and 58%, respectively, naming them among the most important issues. They ranked above experience with gun violence prevention (47%), police recruitment and retention (45%) and use of “technology, equipment, and data to solve problems” (25%).

Ethics and integrity were the most important leadership quality, according to around 70% of survey takers, followed by holding staff accountable (66%). Responding to crime and decreasing 911 times was the most important goal for 64% of respondents, followed by recruiting and retaining diverse officers with 49%.

The city hosted seven community meetings this summer to gather input from residents, business owners, youth and others.


Harrell said Friday that the feedback would be “integral” to his decision, as he “[strives] to make Seattle a welcoming and safe city for every community.”

Seattle has not had a permanent police chief since former Chief Carmen Best resigned in 2020, after a summer of heated protests and increased scrutiny of the department.

Since assuming office in January, the mayor has repeatedly praised interim Chief Adrian Diaz, who applied for the permanent role after being publicly encouraged to do so by Harrell in March.

But, according to the city’s charter, the mayor must consider at least three applicants from a national search.

This spring, the city paid Public Sector Search & Consulting $75,000 to conduct the search. The firm led Seattle’s 2018 search for a chief and has conducted searches for cities such as Bellevue, San Francisco and Dallas, Texas.

A spokesperson for the mayor said Friday that the firm provided the committee 15 applicants from “a diverse pool of experienced candidates,” but declined to provide the names of any applicants.

The committee is set to select three finalists for Harrell by Sept. 8. After a series of internal interviews, the finalists will participate in a publicly broadcast question and answer forum on Sept. 15. After Harrell makes an appointment, City Council must vote to confirm the hire.

Community members can submit questions for the forums on the city’s website.

The search committee includes:

  • Seattle City Council President Debora Juarez
  • Seattle City Councilmember and Public Safety and Human Services Committee Chair Lisa Herbold
  • Lt. Scott Bachler, Seattle Police Management Association 
  • Prachi Dave, policy and advocacy director, Public Defender Association; Commissioner, Community Police Commission 
  • Gabe Galanda, managing lawyer, Galanda Broadman, PLLC 
  • Erin Goodman, executive director, Sodo Business Improvement Area 
  • Esther Lucero, CEO, Seattle Indian Health Board 
  • Jim Pugel, former SPD chief of police 
  • Robert Saka, former King County Charter Commission member
  • Rachel Smith, president & CEO, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce 
  • Mary Ellen Stone, CEO, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center 
  • The Rev. Harriett Walden, founder, Mothers for Police Accountability; co-chair, Community Police Commission 
  • Natalie Walton-Anderson, Criminal Division chief, Seattle City Attorney’s Office 
  • Bishop Reggie Witherspoon, Mount Calvary Christian Center