Facing critical issues in the Seattle Police Department, Mayor-elect Ed Murray today named a former federal official to advise him on law enforcement and public-safety matters during the transition.
Bernard K. Melekian, president of The Paratus Group, a law enforcement consulting company based in Santa Barbara, Calif., previously served four years as director of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
He also served for 13 years as chief of the Pasadena, Calif., Police Department, beginning in 1996. His experience includes conducting internal reviews for the Oakland and Los Angeles police departments.
The Seattle Police Department is currently under a federal court order requiring it to adopt reforms to curtail excessive force and curb biased policing — issues cited by the Department of Justice in a 2011 report. Just last week, the federal monitor overseeing the reforms submitted a draft report to the city that sharply criticized the police department for resistance among some in the top ranks, error-ridden data production and faulty reviews of shootings by officers.
In a statement, Murray said, “During the campaign I talked about how public safety will be job one for my administration. Broadly speaking, this means restoring the morale of (the) police force, making critical reforms to our police force, and, ultimately, building confidence in our police force across our many diverse communities.”
Murray said Melekian has extensive experience in government, academic research and as a consultant to the private sector.