In a 3-to-0 vote, the Seattle City Council’s public-safety committee today approved the appointment of a longtime Boise, Idaho, official to serve as the next civilian director of the Seattle Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA).
The three-year appointment of Pierce Murphy, who has been Boise’s community ombudsman since 1999, now moves for consideration Monday to the full council, which is likely to confirm him.
“Boise’s loss is Seattle’s gain,” Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes told the committee while delivering a strong endorsement of Murphy, who was appointed in April by Mayor Mike McGinn.
Murphy, a onetime law-enforcement officer in Menlo Park, Calif., has pledged to strengthen the independence of the OPA, which investigates complaints of police misconduct. He has also promised, if confirmed, to immediately hold scheduled hours in the community to develop relationships with Seattle’s diverse communities.
Murphy told the committee he has a “steep hill to climb,” but is committed to the work. He is past president of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement.
Murphy would replace Kathryn Olson, who announced in October she was stepping down.