Jim Pugel
Jim Pugel
Jim Pugel, a former chief of the Seattle Police Department, is running for City Council in District 7, according to a news release. Pugel was the interim chief of police for about a year in 2013 and 2014 after more than 30 years in law enforcement. After leaving SPD, he worked as a deputy chief at the King County Sheriff's Office between 2014 and 2018.

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Pugel will announce his candidacy for District 7 at Occidental Square at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

District 7—which includes downtown, Queen Anne, and Magnolia—is one of three open council districts without an incumbent running after Councilmember Sally Bagshaw announced she would not seek reelection. The race has already drawn six other candidates: Elizabeth Campbell, Daniela Eng, Michael George, Naveed Jamali, Isabelle J. Kerner, and Andrew J. Lewis.

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Pugel was seen as a powerful advocate for police reform within the department. During his career at SPD, he worked with the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program, which works to divert non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of jail. While he was chief, he was praised by the judge overseeing court-mandated reforms at the department, and he refused to reverse more than a dozen misconduct decisions despite pleas from the police union, according to former Stranger News Editor Dominic Holden.

Pugel retired from SPD in 2014 after being demoted from his position as interim police chief by former Mayor Ed Murray. Murray was endorsed by Seattle's largest police union and Holden considered Pugel's retirement as evidence of Murray buckling to police union demands and pushing Pugel and other reformers out of the department.

Pugel drew the ire of that same police union last year when he filmed an ad for Initiative 940, the successful initiative that requires more police training and makes it easier to charge cops for murder. In the ad, Pugel sat next to Monika Williams, the sister of Charleena Lyles, a pregnant woman who was killed by two SPD cops in 2017. The campaign ad generated outrage from Seattle's conservative police officers, and The Seattle Times even gave an SPD officer anonymity so he could call Pugel a "turncoat," another word for traitor.