New SPD interim chief promises no May Day mayhem

Updated:

SEATTLE —

May Day anarchists took over downtown Seattle in May 2012, and Seattle Police Department’s new top cop promises there will not be mayhem this year.

On Monday, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz announced his retirement, and Mayor Mike McGinn said Assistant Chief Jim Pugel will be the interim chief.

Even though Diaz will still be chief on May 1, Pugel is getting ready to take over the helm of the Seattle Police Department.

Pugel told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Amy Clancy that this year will be different.

“We have one commander this year with very clear lines of communication. He will be in command. Once he gets his plan complete, we are going to go over it and make sure and be very clear in our messaging, not internally only, but externally as well, about what is expected and what will not be tolerated,”  Pugel said.

Pugel will take over as interim chief in the next 30-45 days.

A Seattle native and a 30-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department, Pugel said he’s already been talking with the expert who reviewed last May Day’s fiasco to make sure this year’s is different should anarchists show up.

“It is inevitable that we are going to have to use force. It is inevitable that police are going to have to detain people. It is inevitable that some will choose to resist a lawful and constitutional arrest. The key there is leaving the person with as much dignity as possible,” Pugel said.

Pugel admits, in the wake of multiple allegations of recent police brutality, the Seattle Police Department has work to do when it comes to restoring trust.

“To acknowledge that, there needs to be some healing out here and to work with those community groups that feel aggrieved and to get them to know that they have a good Police Department,” Pugel said.

Pugel told Clancy he has not thought of acting as chief until he was asked to do the job about a week ago.

Now Pugel may try to be the permanent replacement, depending on how it goes as interim.