Seattle Interim Police Chief Rahr stands behind 'kinder and gentler' policing

Policing with kindness and respect is a principle Seattle Police Interim Chief Sue Rahr has championed for decades.

"This is just about being kinder and gentler and more polite. This is a better way to make the community safer because you've got to build a connection with the people you are protecting and serving and even the people you may be taking enforcement action with," Rahr said in an interview with FOX 13 Seattle.

sue rahr smiling behind background of american flag

Sue Rahr is serving as Seattle’s interim chief of police following the departure of Adrian Diaz.  (Sue Rahr)

Rahr's commitment to these values is long-standing. In 2013, as director of the state police academy in Burien, she told cadets, "Every single one of you has to see yourself all the time as a leader." Today, she continues to advocate for open communication and trust between police and the community. 

"I think a much more powerful tool is having open lines of communication and rebuilding trust," she emphasized.

Rahr's extensive career in law enforcement began in 1979 when she joined the King County Sheriff's Office. She has worked in patrol, special assault units, gang units, internal investigations and has served as top cop in a predominantly male field. 

Reflecting on her return to the force, she remarked, "I didn't realize how much I missed it. To be honest with you. I've really, really enjoyed it."

Returning from retirement temporarily, Rahr plans to make her stint brief, so she can go back to spending time with her family and grandchildren. Despite her short tenure, however, she has already visited nine precincts, engaging with officers to understand their needs. 

sue rahr with spd officers

Sue Rahr, who is serving as Seattle’s interim chief of police, talks with police officers.  (Sue Rahr)

"I'm getting great ideas from the frontline. You know, I expected a lot of anger and crossed arms, and I'm getting the opposite. What I'm getting is, 'Chief, what do you want us to do?' And what I'm saying is, 'What do you need from me?' And it's really been great," she shared with FOX 13 Seattle.

Rahr remains authentic and transparent, believing this approach is effective. 

"It's not a costume. I'm not going to strap on a gun belt and pretend that I'm still competent to work the streets. It would be like Pete Carroll putting on a helmet and cleats and running out into the field. I can do more for this department as a coach," she stated.

Rahr's leadership aims to manage the department, acknowledge past mistakes and highlight the good work officers do. With a six-month tenure, she is working with a sense of urgency but says she is not open to the possibility of extending her term. When asked if she loves what she does, she responded with a laugh, "I do."

Rahr's focus on kindness and respect is her guiding principle, aiming to create a safer and more connected community.


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