SEATTLE - Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray met quietly with interim Police Chief Jim Pugel today. Pugel didn’t publicize the meeting, but acknowledged it when KIRO-7 found out about it.
With a federal consent decree on abuse of force hanging over the department, Murray has said he wants to name a new police chief soon after he takes office on January 1.
Many assume the next Seattle Police Chief will come from outside the department. But a persistent critic of the department over the years says an insider might be the best choice.
“Just bringing somebody from the outside doesn't always work,” said Harriet Walden. Walden has led Mothers for Police Accountability for 24 years, and has often been sharply critical of Seattle Police. “But having somebody who knows the landscape and then he's really quite a leader around the country. I mean Chief Pugel is really respected.”
Walden also serves on the community committee created as part of the Justice Department decree. “I think they should give Police Chief Pugel a chance,” she said. “I mean it's already a lot of changes.”
Mayor-elect Murray has said that he will conduct a national search for a new chief, but that he’s ready to select a candidate already working for the department if that is the best choice.