The two co-chairs of Mayor Ed Murray's police chief search committee, OneAmerica founder Pramila Jayapal and former King County Executive Ron Sims, announced the three finalists for police chief today.
(The finalists' names, along with a fourth candidate, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community police chief Patrick Melvin, were already leaked last month; PubliCola was the first to report on Melvin, who is now no longer in the running).
Officially now, the three finalists are: former Boston police commissioner Kathleen O’Toole (left); Elk Grove, CA police chief Robert Lehner (right); and Mesa, AZ police chief Frank Milstead (below).
Asked whether the two small-town police chiefs had the right experience to head a police department in a big city like Seattle (Boston, incidentally, is almost exactly the same size as Seattle), Jayapal said, "What you’ll find with these three candidates is that while some may have had experience with a larger city than Seattle, all of them have the ability to deal with the complexity of the issues that weface in Seattle."
Jayapal said Murray plans to announce his choice, which will have to be approved by the city council, by mid-May.
Sims (who, with characteristic subtlety, called the selection process so far "one of the most thorough processes in the history of humankind") said the selection committee "could not have asked or dreamed that we would find three names so qualified for the job of police chief of Seattle." He added: "The one thing we learned about all these candidates was the number of people in their communities who said 'please don’t take them.'"
Jayapal and Sims said the candidates would not be doing media interviews during the appointment process.