• SPD
  • Nick Metz (far left) and Chief Kathleen O'Toole (second from right) congratulate Officer Thomas Mahaffey (center) on his promotion to lieutenant on January 13.

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Nick Metz, a 32-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department, has won the nomination to become the next chief of police in Aurora, Colorado, a suburb outside of Denver.

At the end of 2013, you may recall, the court-appointed police monitor for the SPD's reform process wrote, "If the current senior command staff remains in place and their attitudes toward the Settlement Agreement do not change, the SPD is unlikely to be able to achieve full and effective compliance." Around the same time, Dominic Holden reported that then-interim-chief Jim Pugel gave the two assistant chiefs, including Metz, an ultimatum: accept a demotion or quit.

"After a federal court settlement mandated that the department reform problems with excessive use of force and racially biased policing," Dominic wrote, "it seems Metz was still part of the problem."

Metz took a demotion to the rank of captain. But by the following month, Mayor Ed Murray's new interim chief, Harry Bailey, had reversed Pugel's decisions and restored Metz to the position of assistant chief.

Then last month, new Seattle police chief Kathleen O'Toole announced she was opening up her command staff to a national hiring process, one that would accept applications from the current assistant chiefs.

She responded to the news from Aurora today on SPD's Blotter: "I had very mixed emotions when hearing the news. Of course, I’m delighted for Nick. He deserves this opportunity and will bring extraordinary experience and leadership to the Aurora PD. At the same time, I will miss the great support and friendship he has provided to me over the past six months. I look forward to our continued friendship and to working collaboratively with him as members of the Major City Chiefs Association."

The Aurora City Council is expected to approve Metz's nomination on February 2.