TIMELINE: Seattle has had 7 police chiefs since 2000

Seattle hasn't been able to keep a police chief for longer than a few years.

With the news that Chief Adrian Diaz is out amid a spate of sexual harassment and discrimination claims filed against the police department, it has shed a light on just how long the Emerald City has gone without a long-term police chief.

The most recent police chief not to resign in a storm of controversy is Kathleen O'Toole, who stepped down from her role in 2017.

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  ((File / FOX 13))

Since 2000, Seattle Police has had seven police chiefs:

  • Gil Kerlikowske had the job from July 2000–March 2009; he left to go work as the Director of the Office of National Drug Policy.
  • John Diaz served as chief from May 2009–April 2013
  • Jim Pugel was acting chief from April 2013–Jan. 2014
  • Harry Bailey was acting chief from Jan. 2014–June 2014
  • Kathleen O'Toole served as chief from June 2014–Dec. 2017
  • Carmen Best had the job from Jan. 2018–Sept. 2020

Carmen Best left the position in the wake of controversy surrounding the police's handling of Seattle's Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, when police tear-gassed protesters and abandoned the East Precinct. Text messages between Best, then-Mayor Jenny Durkan and Fire Chief Harold Scoggins had been deleted during the racial justice protests, forever obscuring any information about decisions made that eventually led to two fatal shootings in the CHOP zone.

Adrian Diaz took over for Carmen Best in Sept. 2020; he was interim chief for two years before getting the permanent appointment in Sep. 2022.


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