One of Jenny Durkan's first tests as mayor will be selecting a new police chief. On the campaign trail, Durkan touted her work on the Seattle Police Department's federal consent decree. Who she chooses to head that department will say a lot about her priorities for the department as it inches closer into full compliance with the agreement.
Today, Durkan announced the 25 members to a Police Search Committee that will help her hire a replacement for Chief Kathleen O'Toole, who plans to step down from her post at the end of the year. Deputy Chief Carmen Best will head the department in the interim.
As Durkan announced earlier this month, the four co-chairs of the committee include the ACLU's Jeff Robinson, former mayor Tim Burgess, Chief Seattle Club director Colleen Echohawk and former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr. Three years ago, Burgess and Rahr served on the commission that helped select O'Toole. Other than those two, there aren't any other holdovers from the previous group. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Durkan's committee covers a wide spectrum of interests, including cops, former cops, police reformists, city council members, civil rights advocates, lawyers, businesspeople and community leaders. Some appointees are a nod towards protecting immigrants and victims of sexual violence. Mary Ellen Stone, Executive Director of the Sexual Assault Resource Center, has a seat at the table. So do heads from three different immigrants rights organizations, including the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, OneAmerica and the Coalition of Immigrants Refugees and Communities of Color (CIRCC).
Other appointees seem obvious, but hold views on police reform at odds with positions Durkan pushed on the campaign trail. For example, Seattle Police Officers Guild president Kevin Stuckey will serve on the committee, just as SPOG's last president did on the group that selected O'Toole. But SPOG has been resistant to reforms; Most recently the union came out against Initiative 940, which would mandate de-escalation training across the state and lower the near-impossibly high standard for prosecuting officers who use deadly force. Durkan supports I-940.
Two members of the Community Police Commission (CPC), a group that Durkan has a rocky history with, will also serve on the committee.
The search committee will hold its first meeting in January. Durkan has said she hopes to hire a new chief by Spring of 2018.
"Before making any recommendations, our Police Search Committee will be listening to our residents, including those communities that have the greatest distrust of police and the criminal justice system and who face the bias and institutional racism of our current system,” said Durkan said in a press release.
Here are all 25 committee members:
• Co-Chair Tim Burgess, former Mayor of Seattle, former President of the Seattle City Council, and former Seattle police detective
• Co-Chair Colleen Echohawk, Executive Director of the Chief Seattle Club
• Co-Chair Sue Rahr, Director of Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission and former King County Sheriff
• Co-Chair Jeffery Robinson, deputy legal director at the ALCU and the director of the ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality (serving in his personal capacity)
• Jorge L. Barón, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
• Scott Bachler, Seattle Police Management Association
• Solomon Bisrat, Coalition of Immigrants Refugees and Communities of Color (CIRCC)
• Louise Chernin, Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA)
• Ben Danielson, Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic
• Gregory Davis, Rainier Beach Action Coalition
• Erin Goodman, SODO Business Improvement Area
• M. Lorena González, Seattle City Councilmember
• Enrique Gonzalez, Community Police Commission
• Jimmy Hung, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
• Roxana Norouzi, One America
• Asha Mohammed, Women's Advocacy Center
• Sonny Nguyen, Chinatown International District Public Safety
• Becky Roe, Schroeter Goldmark & Bender
• Jon Scholes, Downtown Seattle Association
• Mike Stewart, Ballard Alliance
• Mary Ellen Stone, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center
• Marcus Stubblefield, King County Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget
• Kevin Stuckey, Seattle Police Officer's Guild
• Pastor Lawrence Ricky Willis, United Black Christian Clergy
• Rev. Aaron Williams, Community Police Commission