Another assistant Seattle police chief demoted; second one this week

SEATTLE -- Seattle Assistant Police Chief Nick Metz said Wednesday he had been "informed" that he will no longer be an assistant chief, and that he has agreed to remain on at the Seattle Police Department as a captain.

It was the second demotion of an assistant police chief this week and comes two weeks after a federal monitor's report that criticized the SPD's implementation of reforms demanded by the Justice Department. Earlier this week, Assistant Chief Dick Reed had taken a voluntary demotion to captain.

The moves also come as Mayor-elect Ed Murray, who wants to pick a police chief, prepares to take office in January.

The Seattle Times, citing sources, reported that interim Police Chief Jim Pugel gave Metz an ultimatum: Take an assignment to captain or accept a severance package.

In a letter to his colleagues Wednesday, Metz wrote, in part:  "It has been decided that there will be a change in the face and structure of leadership at the Seattle Police Department.  I have been recently informed that, effective December 2nd, I will not be part of that team.

"Over the last 10+ years, as a member of the senior command staff, it has been my honor to serve this great city and its incredible people.  Through the years there have been many public safety changes and challenges.

"No matter what the change or challenge, the women and men of the Seattle Police Department (both sworn and civilian) have always stepped up, ready to serve our great city.  Remembering how our incredible women and men responded to such incidents like Cafe Racer, May Day 2013, the manhunt to find the killer of Officer Timothy Brenton, the Jewish Federation Shooting, and the thousands of incidents every year should make us all feel very proud.

"Though no longer a member of the senior leadership command, I will resume my leadership role as a Captain.

"I will continue to serve this City with the same level of care and professionalism that I promised when I took my oath over thirty years ago. "

In an internal SPD email issued Wednesday, Pugel said he had planned to announce the staff decisions next Monday, but "owing to rumors and disclosures that did not originate from my office" he decided to go ahead and announce them late Wednesday.

"I have asked Assistant Chief Nick Metz to return to his civil service rank of Captain," the Pugel email said. "This is the permanent civil service rank that all Assistant Chiefs and – in my case – the Chief of Police hold. I thank Nick for his contributions in the role he held as Assistant Chief, and look forward to his continued efforts in the critical assignment of Captain.

"I am also announcing my decision to promote Captain Carmen Best to the rank of Assistant Chief. She will command the Investigations Bureau. For those of you who have had the pleasure of working with her, you will know Carmen for her decisive leadership, efficiency as an administrator and tireless work ethic.

"And, finally, I want to announce the assignment of Captain John Hayes to command the South Precinct. John is highly regarded as a leader in our department and has the privilege of having close ties to the precinct that he serves.

"I have given extensive consideration to these decisions over the last weeks and months, and have been guided in my commitment to the four pillars of our mission: Justice, Excellence, Humility and Harm Reduction. I believe these decisions will help us to further our progress towards these important goals and I thank all of you for your dedication and service."