Seattle PD's interim chief named as permanent chief of police

Chief Adrian Diaz and Mayor Harrell have already undertaken plans to tackle high-crime areas through hot-spot policing and recruiting

By Sarah Grace Taylor
The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — Mayor Bruce Harrell has named interim Chief Adrian Diaz as his pick for permanent chief of Seattle police, signaling his approval with the current leadership of the Police Department.

At a news conference Tuesday, Harrell announced his intent to appoint Diaz, who has served in the role as interim since 2020, to continue to lead the city's police department.

Harrell has been a vocal supporter of Diaz since taking office in January and openly encouraged Diaz to apply for the permanent role this spring, though the city's charter required the mayor conduct a more open search for the position.

The mayor's office hired a headhunting firm for $75,000 to round up applicants. Of those 15 applicants, a selection committee appointed by the mayor identified three finalists earlier this month: Diaz, SPD Assistant Chief Eric Greening and Tucson Police Assistant Chief Kevin Hall.

The Seattle City Council must also confirm Harrell's selection.

In a public forum last week, the three candidates fielded questions about alternative responses, culture within the department and violence in the city.

Diaz indicated support for increased policing alternatives and reform within the department, but focused his answers on his previous experience, rather than specific new ideas.

Diaz was promoted to deputy chief in 2020, after serving as an assistant chief in charge of the department's Collaborative Policing Bureau. He assumed the interim position in 2020.

He has also worked in the department's patrol and investigations units, among other assignments, since joining SPD in 1997.

Harrell and Diaz have worked in apparent lockstep this year to address high-crime neighborhoods concentrated in and around downtown through hot-spot policing and committing to hiring more staff for the hemorrhaging department through a series of recruitment strategies, including hiring bonuses of up to $30,000.

The pair have shared little on how they will navigate reform within the department, which has been under a federal consent decree for a decade due to sustained issues of force and bias within the department.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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