In a press conference today, Ron Sims and Pramila Jayapal announced the final three candidates for Seattle's Next Police Chief. Aaaaaand heeeeeeeeere they are:
-Kathleen O'Toole, former Police Commissioner, City of Boston
-Frank Milstead, Chief of Police, City of Mesa, Arizona
-Robert Lehner, Chief of Police, City of Elk Grove, California
Ron Sims was giddy at the conference, grinning and smiling about the new candidates. "The mayor, when he first set the standards, we said, 'they don't make people like this!' But we found them."
All three candidates are being described as "reformers" by Jayapal. "Each of them brings a different way of interacting with people, each has their own style," she said. "But they all quoted statistics to us in the interview from a lot of public documents, including the DOJ report."
So who are these potential saviors of our highly scrutinized police force?
Kathleen O'Toole was the first female police commissioner of Boston and helped reform the Police Service of Northern Ireland of all places. She got into a spot of trouble in 2004 when under her watch as commissioner, a college student was accidentally killed during crowd control after a Red Sox victory celebreation when an errant pepper spray bullet broke through her eye and stuck her brain. The Seattle Police Department actually discontinued the use of the pepper spray weapon, manufactured by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal, because of the incident. O'Toole placed the officer who fired the round on paid leave.
Frank Milstead has been an officer in Arizona for almost 30 years where he has seved both as the Phoenix police commander and the Mesa police chief. Soon after arriving at Mesa, Milstead reorganized the department's leadership, and is widely credited with updating local police tech with the advent of police smart phone apps. Last year, Milstead came under fire for alleged sexism after firing a top ranking female officer for supposedly hacking into police databases after filing an inter-department sexual harassment charge.
Robert Lehner started his career out in Arizona, but over 25 years he served as assistant Chief of Police in Euguene, OR and police chief in Elk Grove, CA, where he has made the case that "preschool is crime prevention."
Mayor Murray will interview the finalists over the next weeks and is expected to announce his nominee mid-May.