SPD Chief Carmen Best and Mayor Jenny Durkan celebrate Monday.
SPD Chief Carmen Best and Mayor Jenny Durkan celebrate Monday. Lester Black

Interim Police Chief Carmen Best is the new chief of police pending confirmation from the City Council, according to a Tuesday morning announcement from the mayor's office.

Mayor Jenny Durkan plans to officially nominate Best as the permanent chief at a 10 a.m. press conference, according to the release. Best's nomination will need to be confirmed by the City Council.

Best's selection completes a surprising turn of events for Best, who until two weeks ago was officially not in the running for the permanent position. A committee of mostly Durkan's own staff members had initially not selected Best as a finalist for the position.

Best's absence from the finalists list angered both police reformers and a powerful Seattle police union.

That changed two weeks ago, when Durkan announced on a Saturday that she had selected Best as a finalist after one of the other three finalists had removed their name from consideration.

***UPDATE 11:00 a.m.***

Acting Police Chief  Carmen Best, Mayor Jenny Durkan, and Bests husband.
Acting Police Chief Carmen Best, Mayor Jenny Durkan, and Best's husband. The Seattle Channel

Mayor Jenny Durkan nominated acting Chief Carmen Best to be the next permanent Seattle Police Chief Tuesday, telling a press conference “I got the chief of police that I wanted.”

Best has been the interim police chief since December of last year, when former Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole resigned. Her nomination now needs to be confirmed by the City Council before she is officially the permanent chief.

The City Council plans to vote on the nomination on Sep. 4, according to Councilmember M. Lorena Gonzalez’s office.

Best, a 26-year veteran of the department, was not originally selected as a finalist in May when a committee of mostly Durkan staffers announced three finalists for the position. Best’s absence from the list sparked outrage from both Seattle's powerful police unions and advocates for police reform.

Durkan at first defended the decision only to reverse course two weeks ago and name Best as a finalist after former Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay, one of the three other finalists for the positioned, removed his name from consideration. McLay is now under consideration for a different role in the department, according to Durkan.

Durkan defended the turbulent series of events behind the nomination, sarcastically telling reporters that “what I love in Seattle is people focus on process.”

“I got the best chief of police right here, Carmen Best,” Durkan said.

Durkan also denied that she was out of touch with the city.

“No, we listened to more people in this process,” Durkan said. “This last week was real. It was hard work going in front of all these community groups.”

Best gave brief prepared remarks Tuesday and answered one question before Durkan adjourned the press conference. With her husband standing next to her, Best thanked her family and both the police reform community and the rank and file police officers.

“I want to especially thank the men and women of the Seattle Police Department who serve this city every day with service, pride, and dedication,” Best said. “Trust me when I say the Seattle Police Department is one of the premier agencies in the country and I look forward to being the chief.”

Best used her prepared remarks to call for more police officers on Seattle’s streets.

“With our rapid growth comes new challenges for public safety and new demands on policing,” Best said. “This means increasing the number of officers who are working in our community.”

Andre Taylor, a police reform advocate, told me Best was the “best fit for the city.” Taylor said he was not worried about Best’s strong support from the police unions, who have advocated against many police reforms.

“I don’t think that is a negative that people like her are in law enforcement,” said Taylor, whose brother was killed by two Seattle police officers in 2017. “I believe that because she is so likable on both ends of the spectrum it is an opportunity to bring leadership to the city.”