Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced that after an extensive search process, he has nominated a new director of the Office of Professional Accountability, the office responsible for investigating complaints about police misconduct.
The new director, Pierce Murphy, has served as the city of Boise's community ombudsman since 1999 and implemented a long-term plan to restore public trust and build stronger connections between community and police.
“Pierce Murphy has decades of experience in finding common ground on difficult issues, and is recognized as a national expert on police accountability and reform. He brings new ideas and a fresh eye to the challenges we face, and I look forward to working with him closely,” said McGinn.
A seven-member panel, led by Acting Chief Judge Michael Spearman of the Washington State Court of Appeals, reviewed over 150 applications in a nationwide search process for the OPA director position. The panel interviewed eight of whom they believed to be the most qualified candidates, and identified three finalists for the mayor’s consideration.
Since Murphy created the Office of the Community Ombudsman in Boise, Idaho in 1999, he has investigated 18 officer-involved shootings and over 2,400 complaints and inquiries; advocated for over 50 changes to police policy, practice or training; worked on strengthening the internal affairs process of investigating and resolving public complaints; and designed an alternate dispute resolution process to resolve minor demeanor and service quality complaints.
"The mayor chose from three highly qualified candidates, each of whom I would have enjoyed working with,” said court-appointed police monitor Merrick Bobb. “I have known Pierce Murphy for many years and respect him greatly. His deep attachment to community policing and to the welfare and safety of police officers, along with his independence and strong moral center, bodes for him to perform exceptionally well in this new position."
McGinn’s nomination is subject to City Council confirmation. If confirmed, Murphy will begin work in June.