Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

April 25, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Names of SPD chief candidates disclosed


Robert Lehner

Three other police chiefs are top candidates to become Seattle’s next police chief, a source said today, one day after The Seattle Times reported that former Boston police commissioner Kathleen O’Toole had emerged as a top candidate for the job.

They are Robert Lehner, the chief in Elk Grove, Calif., who previously served as police chief in Eugene, Ore.; Patrick R. Melvin, the police chief of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Arizona; and Frank Milstead, chief of the Mesa, Ariz., Police Department and formerly a commander with the Phoenix Police Department.

Lehner has more than 30 years of law-enforcement experience and also served as an assistant chief in Tucson, Ariz., according to the department’s website. He has a master of business administration degree from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Business and Public Administration.


Patrick R. Melvin

Prior to becoming police chief of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Melvin was police chief in Maricopa, Ariz., where he also served as interim public safety director, interim fire chief and interim assistant city manager. He has a master of education degree from Northern Arizona University.

Milstead is the son of the late Ralph “Tom” Milstead, who was a Phoenix police administrator before he led the Arizona Department of Public Safety through several crises during a nine-year stint that ended in 1989, according to The Arizona Republic. Milstead holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix and is a graduate of the University of Louisville Southern Police Institute Chief Executive Leadership Program.

The four candidates were selected by Mayor Ed Murray’s 12-member search committee.

Murray has said he plans to announce his choice the week of May 19. The nominee will then be considered by the City Council for confirmation.


Frank Milstead

The two co-chairs of the search committee, Pramila Jayapal and Ron Sims, confirmed the names in a news release issued today by the mayor’s office, saying they were doing so because the names had been disclosed in the news media.

“While we value the importance of confidentiality to the police chief search, we determined that, with the identities of some candidates now publicly known, a fully confidential process is no longer possible at this stage,” Jayapal said in the statement.

“We also understand and appreciate the public’s desire to know details of this critically important process as it unfolds. Which is why at this time we are confirming that the Search Committee is asking the four outstanding candidates recently identified in the press to complete a competitive exam before potentially advancing to the next stage of the vetting process for the chief of police position,” she added.

Bertie Ahern, Michael McDowell, Kathleen O'Toole

Kathleen O’Toole

“Over the coming weeks, we will continue to screen and thoroughly evaluate these and other applicants as the Search Committee makes progress toward our goal of recommending the best three individuals from our highly talented pool of applicants to Mayor Murray for his final review and selection by mid-May,” Jayapal said.

Sims, in the statement, said, “Each of the candidates identified thus far has the background, the skills and the commitment that Mayor Murray has articulated as critical attributes of the next chief of police – integrity, management experience, the ability to be a change agent and drive reform. All are highly regarded in their communities and each would make incredible contributions to ours.”

Sims is a former King County executive and ex-deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Jayapal is a fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Community Change and founder and former executive director of OneAmerica, a nonprofit that advocates for immigrant, civil and human rights.

Seattle’s previous chief, John Diaz, retired a year ago. Since then, Jim Pugel and then Harry Bailey have acted as interim chiefs of the department.

Comments | More in General news, Government, The Blotter | Topics: Seattle Police Department


No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

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 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 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 content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►