Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

February 20, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Harrell wants police chief re-confirmed by council

Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell wants the Seattle police chief to be periodically reviewed and reconfirmed by the City Council.

Harrell, who is running against Mayor Mike McGinn, is proposing a charter amendment, which would require a citywide vote, to give the council the authority to reconfirm the chief. Currently the mayor appoints and the council confirms the pick. Harrell’s measure calls for the chief to be reconfirmed for the job every four years. Currently, 13 Seattle department heads are subject to reconfirmation by the council.

Harrell said his measure is not aimed specifically at Chief John Diaz, whose tenure has been marred by high-profile incidents involving the use of force against minorities and federal mandates for reform outlined in a Justice Department settlement agreement.

“This is not a knock on Diaz. This is a knock on the process,” Harrell said. “It’s an effort to evaluate him on measurable and articulable criteria, which is really not done. How do we measure this most important role? It’s very vague.”

Deputy Police Chief Clark Kimerer said allowing the council to reconfirm the chief makes him more subject to political influence. He noted that currently the chief can be dismissed by the mayor at any time.

“The chief has to be able to do the right thing, not the popular thing,” Kimerer said.

The council public safety committee, which Harrell chairs, will take up the proposal this afternoon, but hasn’t scheduled a vote. The proposed charter amendment would have to be submitted to the City Clerk by July to be placed on the November ballot.

Comments | Topics: Bruce Harrell, Seattle Police Department


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►