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Short List For New Seattle Police Chief Down To Three Names

Ryan Healy

A committee searching for Seattle’s next police chief has handed three names to Mayor Ed Murray. The finalists are Elk Grove, California police chief Robert Lehner, Mesa, Arizona chief Frank Milstead and former Boston police commissioner Kathleen O’Toole. Committee co-chair Ron Sims said each candidate is a “change agent,” who clears a very high bar set by the mayor.

“They don’t make people like he just demanded that we meet. Where are they? But we found them. And I think the public will be incredibly well served by any of these three,” Sims said.

Committee members said it was more important that candidates have experience leading complex departments, rather than large ones. They said each candidate had reviewed the Seattle Police Department’s reform plan, overseen by the federal government.

All three names had already been leaked to the public, along with a fourth candidate who didn’t make the short list. Mayor Murray is expected to make his choice among the three this month. The next chief must be approved by the city council.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.