Police-chief finalist choice narrows to 3 on Friday
The names of the three finalists for Seattle’s next police chief will be announced Friday.
The names of the three finalists for Seattle’s next police chief will be announced Friday, according to Mayor Ed Murray.
Four people are under consideration: former Boston police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole; Robert Lehner, the chief in Elk Grove, Calif., who previously served as police chief in Eugene, Ore.; Patrick R. Melvin, the police chief of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Arizona; and Frank Milstead, chief of the Mesa, Ariz., Police Department and formerly a commander with the Phoenix Police Department.
The four were selected by Murray’s 12-member search committee.
Murray has said he plans to announce his choice for chief the week of May 19. The nominee will then be considered by the City Council for confirmation.
Seattle’s previous chief, John Diaz, retired a year ago. Since then, Jim Pugel and then Harry Bailey have acted as interim chiefs of the department.
O’Toole served as Boston’s police commissioner from 2004 to 2006. Now working as a consultant, O’Toole also served as chief inspector of Ireland’s national police from 2006 to 2012, garnering a reputation as an internationally recognized expert on police oversight who in 2013 was appointed to oversee police reforms in East Haven, Conn.
If selected, she would become Seattle’s first female police chief.
Milstead previously served for 25 years in the Phoenix Police Department, holding various command positions. Milstead, who in Mesa leads a department of 1,200 sworn and civilian employees, notes in his department biography his emphasis on “street-level crime fighting, community partnership, economic efficiency and transparency through technology.”
Melvin served in the Phoenix Police Department for 21 years, retiring as a commander, before he was named in 2006 as the police first chief in Maricopa, Ariz., as it ended a relationship with a sheriff’s office. He was appointed as Salt River Pima-Maricopa police chief in 2011, according to a news report.
His department east of Phoenix has 114 sworn officers and 36 professional staff members. Melvin cites on the department’s website his “goal to continually work to develop and enhance the relationship between the police department and community we serve while maintaining a safe community for many years to come.”
Lehner has 30 years of law-enforcement experience, some as an assistant chief in Tucson, Ariz.
He became the police chief in Elk Grove, a Sacramento suburb, in 2008, overseeing a department of 131 sworn officers and 79 civilian employees.
When he left his previous job as police chief in Eugene, Ore., he told The Register-Guard in Eugene that he wanted to help lead a city that had incorporated just eight years earlier.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.