Mayor Jenny Durkan announced three finalists for the position of Chief of Police on Friday. Current interim chief, Carmen Best, was not among them.
Best has led the department since Jan. 1, when she assumed command from former Chief Kathleen O’Toole. Best was the first Black woman to head the department.
Instead, the city has put forward three male candidates to vie for the position: Eddie Frizell, an inspector at the Minneapolis Police Department; Cameron McLay, the former chief of police in Pittsburgh; and Ely Reyes, the assistant chief in Austin.
“From dozens of applications, over many weeks, we carefully focused our efforts on three outstanding finalists. Each of the three remaining individuals understand — and can actualize — a critical truth: The Chief of Police must be both a steward of public safety and a champion for racial justice,” said Jeffery Robinson, co-chair of the commission tasked with finding the new police chief. “I look forward to Mayor Durkan’s decision and the next chapter in the Seattle Police Department’s continued reform.”
The decision has not sat well with everyone. Those who wanted to see Best in the role were shocked that she did not make it to the final three and criticized the process to winnow down to the final three as secretive and untransparent.
The Community Police Commission (CPC), a body that has worked for years on police reform, called on the city to release records related to the search process including potential gender and race equity analyses, candidate responses to questions and the identity of individuals who assessed those responses.
Releasing the documents will shed light on how the decision to exclude Best was made. Statements from those involved have so far been contradictory, the letter reads.
“Because there have been mutually contradictory statements about who made the finalist selection decision and how, and because of the degree of concern inside and outside the department about where we stand now, we believe it is important to be as open as possible, as soon as possible, about the selection process to ate,” reads the letter, signed by three co-chairs of the CPC.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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