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Seattle mayor nominates new director of police board

A Black man in a suit and tie wearing glasses speaks in a screenshot with the text "OPA DIRECTOR PUBLIC FORUM" at the bottom of the screen.
Seattle Channel YouTube
Gino Betts answering questions on June 8, 2022 during a forum for OPA Director finalists shown on Seattle Channel.

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell has announced his pick for the new civilian director of the Seattle Police Department’s Office of Police Accountability, which investigates police misconduct and recommends discipline to the police chief.

Harrell’s nomination of Gino Betts, an assistant state’s attorney in Cook County, Illinois, is still pending votes by the Seattle City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee and, if passed, the full council, the Seattle Times reported.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the committee and council will vote on his nomination, but a Tuesday news release says he will start work Aug. 1. Harrell selected Betts, 40, from a list of four finalists who participated in a public forum in early June.

If approved, Betts will be the fifth OPA civilian director since it was created in 1999. His predecessor, Andrew Myerberg, was appointed in 2017 before leaving in January to join Harrell’s administration as public safety director. Since then, the office has been led by Gráinne Perkins.

“After a robust national search, Gino was a clear standout for his commitment to fairness and justice, belief in continuous learning and improvement, and proven experience driving real progress in this critical area,” Harrell said in the news release.

Betts said he offers a fresh lens and deliberate approach to building transparency and public trust in the police department by conducting thorough investigations driven by honesty and a dedication to the truth.

“My pledge to Seattle and all its residents is to evaluate each case brought before me by striving to fully understand the details, facts, and nuances, while never losing sight of justice and the need for true, meaningful accountability,” he said.

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