Mayor Greg Nickels announced the appointment of a new interim Chief of Police, selecting Deputy Chief John Diaz of the Seattle PD. Although since the>"/>
Mayor Greg Nickels announced the appointment of a new interim Chief of Police, selecting Deputy Chief John Diaz of the Seattle PD. Although since the outgoing police chief Gil Kerlikowske has not received Senate approval yet for his appointment as the Obama Administration's new "Drug Czar", Diaz is at the moment working under the title of Acting Chief of Police.
Such are the semantics of holding office. And covering those who hold office.
The announcement was made official this afternoon at City Hall in front of around 40 city staff, police officers and journalists.
Today's press conference was mostly salutatory with verbal back slapping as Mayor Nickels paid homage to the departing Kerlikowski while welcoming in his, at least temporary, pick.
Here are the bullet points:
Nickels said that there is no timeline in hiring an official replacement and that there'd be an "open search" for a replacement. Nickels is up for re-election this year and this may, or may not, give the incumbent or his challenger(s) a platform plank to run on.
When a candidate search begins, Diaz said that he intends to throw his hat into the process.
Diaz is a San Francisco native. Which will no doubt rile up any remaining diciples of Emmett Watson still worshipping at the Church of Lesser Seattle.
Speaking of riling up, one of the reporters in the audience rained on the general gladhanding atmosphere by asking Diaz a question pertaining to rumors that the Police Guild would not support the Acting Chief if appointed. Diaz responded with a generic answer about being able to work with others while pointing out that SPD officers are the highest paid in the country.
The news release sent out accompanying today's announcement describes Diaz as a Spanish speaker and former East Precinct commander. He's been on the force for 29 years, starting as a patrol officer. He has been Deputy Chief since 2001.
Both Nickels and Diaz spoke about continuing the Department's Neighborhood Policing Plan. And reducing youth violence.
Both Nickels and Diaz addressed concerns about the "public perception of safety" in regards to crime in Seattle, particularly in Belltown, Lake City and Southeast Seattle. Some of the residents apparently have the perception that criminal activity takes place there.
"Fear of crime is as important as actual crime," Diaz said, adding that the SPD will have a more visible police presence in those neighborhoods.
Outgoing Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske appeared to get a little misty eyed while Mayor Nickels lauded his achievements.