Assistant Seattle Police Chief Mike Sanford has decided to retire and take immediate leave as the department continues to undergo major changes in the wake of federally mandated police reforms.
Sanford, who joined the Police Department in 1984, informed the department Monday that he will retire March 31 and take immediate leave before then.
Sanford was the subject of a Seattle Times story Saturday that reported he helped arrange a $45,000 consulting contract with a former department official who previously cleared him of wrongdoing in an internal investigation.
Sanford oversees the department’s Professional Standards Bureau and has taken a lead role in the department’s reform efforts stemming from Department of Justice findings that Seattle police had engaged in excessive force and displayed evidence of biased policing.
He is the third assistant chief to depart the command staff. Late last year, then-Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel demoted assistant chiefs Nick Metz and Dick Reed after the federal monitor overseeing the reforms issued a draft report sharply criticizing the pace of the changes.
Last week, new Mayor Ed Murray named retired Seattle officer Harry C. Bailey, a former assistant chief in the department, to replace Pugel while Murray conducts a search for a permanent chief.
Sanford sent this email Monday to Bailey:
From: Sanford, Michael
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2014 3:16 PM
To: Bailey, Harry
Cc: Pulliam, Alyssa; Nolan, Michael
I wish to inform you of my intent to retire from the Seattle Police Department effective march 31, 2014. I have asked Captain Chris Fowler to be the Acting Assistant Chief over the Professional Responsibility Bureau during my absence. I will be utilizing leave to take care of personal matters between now and that date. It has been an incredible honor to be a Seattle Police Officer for the past almost thirty years. I will work through Captain Nolan to file the appropriate paperwork. I wish you the very best as our new Chief.
Bailey, later today, issued the following statement:
I would like to congratulate Assistant Chief Mike Sanford on his retirement from the Seattle Police Department. Chief Sanford has been a valuable asset to the Seattle Police Department during his 29 years of service with SPD. He has made his notification that his retirement will be effective as of March 31, 2014. I wish him the best in all his future endeavors.