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Originally published January 29, 2014 at 10:30 PM | Page modified January 29, 2014 at 10:47 PM

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Top police job interests candidate who withdrew before

Former Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel, who withdrew as a finalist for Seattle’s police-chief job in 2010, said Wednesday he is strongly interested in applying again — in part because the political landscape is much different now.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Former Sacramento police chief Rick Braziel, who withdrew as a finalist for Seattle’s police-chief job in 2010, said Wednesday he is strongly interested in applying again — in part because the political landscape is much different now.

Braziel, 53, who retired in December 2012 after 33 years with the Sacramento department, said he’s closely watching Seattle’s search for a new chief to determine if the job would be a good fit for him, the city and Mayor Ed Murray.

Braziel, known as a progressive law-enforcement leader, said he has been talking to people in Seattle with knowledge about the job while waiting for the application process to formally open.

As Sacramento chief, he was one of three finalists for Seattle’s police-chief job in 2010 when he suddenly bowed out, saying only that Sacramento remained a better fit for him.

Then-Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn was left with two choices, a police chief from East Palo Alto, Calif., and then-Interim Seattle Police Chief John Diaz, who was ultimately selected.

Revealing more Wednesday, Braziel said he became concerned in 2010 that McGinn and his top aides lacked the government experience and skills needed to develop a strong working relationship.

Braziel said he knew that changes would have to be made in the Seattle department, but worried he would be hampered in his efforts. Additionally, McGinn told Braziel he wouldn’t report directly to him and instead to a top aide.

“That was another one of the red flags,” Braziel said.

In an interview with KING 5, McGinn denied Braziel’s assertion about whom he would report to.

Braziel said he has noticed Murray’s focus on the Seattle Police Department since taking office this month.

“I was impressed with his bold moves right off the bat,” Braziel said.

Former state legislator Murray knows politics, public safety and government, Braziel said.

Murray, who has formed a search committee to find a new chief, tapped the Police Department’s former Assistant Police Chief Harry Bailey to serve as interim chief, giving him wide latitude to make sweeping changes that already have begun.

Braziel said he would be prepared to deal with federally mandated reforms Seattle police are carrying out to curb excessive force and biased policing.

“You have to do these things,” he said.

Braziel said he also took note that the Seattle City Council recently approved a measure allowing the police chief to hire law-enforcement officers from outside the department as assistant chiefs and deputy chiefs instead of solely relying on the internal pool of captains and lieutenants.

Braziel, since leaving as chief in Sacramento, has worked as a consultant and college instructor and on a special project for the Police Foundation, a Washington, D.C., organization whose purpose is to help the police be more effective in doing their job.

Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or On Twitter @stevemiletich

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