Former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske was confirmed by the United States Senate today as head of Customs and Border Protection.
Kerlikowske, who most recently worked as the nation’s drug czar, headed Seattle Police Department for more than eight years. He left Seattle in 2009 to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a Cabinet-level position otherwise known as the drug czar. The office, established in 1988, directs drug-control policy in the U.S.
A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said today that it’s unclear when Kerlikowske will start his new job.
Kerlikowske won credit for stabilizing the Seattle Police Department after the departure of Chief Norm Stamper in the wake of the 1999 World Trade Organization riots and after the department’s initial failure to unearth a detective’s alleged theft of money at a crime scene.
The genial Kerlikowske reached out to citizens. In addition, crime rates dipped during his time as chief, reaching historic lows in recent years.
Kerlikowske previously worked as the Deputy Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the U.S. Department of Justice and as Police Commissioner in Buffalo. He began his law-enforcement career as an officer at the St. Petersburg Police Department, in Florida. Kerlikowske served in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1972, and in the Army Reserve from 1972 to 1976. He attended the University of South Florida, according to the Department of Homeland Security.