Interim Police Chief Carmen Best now on list for SPD chief

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Saturday that former Pittsburg Police Chief Cameron McLay has withdrawn his name from consideration for SPD police chief.

Interim Police Chief Carmen Best is back on the list as a finalist after Mayor Durkan asked the Competitive Exam to reconvene and choose an additional candidate.  She is now one of three finalists for the job along with Minneapolis Police Department Inspector Eddie Frizell and Austin Police Department Assistant Chief Ely Reyes.

Mayor Durkan’s office says Chief McLay’s decision to withdraw his name from consideration came after conversations with Seattle’s mayor about police reform.  That’s a major issue for the Seattle Police Department working to rebuild community trust.

More than five years ago, the city entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department to address allegations that officers had routinely used excessive force and shown troubling evidence of biased policing. Then in January, a federal judge ruled Seattle’s police department is in “full and effective compliance” with court-ordered reforms that had been imposed.

Mayor Durkan’s office says this upcoming week, all candidates will do a series of community meetings and interviews with Mayor Durkan.

The process of picking a new Seattle police chief has created a controversy.   When Carmen Best was left off the list originally, community members and fellow officers spoke out against the decision. Her supporters cite her qualifications and her decades of service to the City of Seattle.