Seattle Police Guild President Rich O'Neill says he wasn't ranking the three candidates for police chief when he reportedly told King 5 earlier this week that Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel was the union's top choice for police chief. But he is now.
O'Neill said the choice comes down to who has the most "command experience," something that he says East Palo Alto Chief Ron Davis is lacking. As reported previously, were Davis to get the job, he would be faced with managing a police force much larger than the one he currently runs.
And that's what causes O'Neill and the more than 1300 rank-and-file officers he represents the most concern, he said. "There are complexities that you have to deal with running a department as large as this, and we want someone who can hit the ground running," said O'Neill.
Comparing the two, O'Neill said Diaz has guided the department through one of the "darkest" periods in its history. Of course, that comes after the Guild reportedly ranked Diaz second behind Braziel, with Davis a seemingly distant third. But O'Neill said this afternoon that King 5 mis-characterized his comments. Still, O'Neill was clearly disappointed by Braziel's decision to pull out of the running, saying "I wish he hadn't."
Now with the field slightly narrowed, Mayor McGinn choice is scheduled to make a final decision sometime this month. According to O'Neill, however, McGinn isn't bound to choose any of the remaining candidates. Previous mayors have gone through the same process and chosen someone that didn't make the search committee's final cut, he said.
But whoever the Mayor ends up choosing will need to be confirmed by City Council. And O'Neill said he'll "urge both the mayor and the city council to look at the experience criteria that were put in place during the search, and why those were put there."