The City of Seattle, Washington (population just under 635,000) is the largest city in the Northwest and is a center for commerce, culture, science, and innovation. Seattle is seeking a new Police Chief to lead a Department of 1,302 sworn and 558 civilian members with a budget of just over $288 million. This position offers an extraordinary opportunity for a bold and courageous Chief. Seattle’s next Police Chief must be a transformative leader, seasoned administrator, and effective manager with the ability to inspire the confidence and trust of the Department’s officers and staff, City officials, and Seattle’s community members. The new Chief must be well respected among peers in law enforcement and have demonstrated experience in urban policing and strategic service delivery. Candidates must possess a combination of education and experience equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Public Administration, Law Enforcement, or a related field and at least five years of command-level experience in a medium-to-large law enforcement agency. A master’s degree is desirable. The salary range is $127,932-$211,076 annually; placement within the range is DOQ.
Seattle’s next Police Chief must be a bold, transformative leader, seasoned administrator, and effective manager with the ability to inspire the confidence and trust of the Seattle Police Department’s officers and staff, City officials, and Seattle’s community members. The new Chief must be: ethical, confident, approachable, and hard working. The new Chief must demonstrate a personal commitment to engaging a diversity of community members and forming relationships with all groups based on understanding and compassion. The new Chief must possess the integrity and ability to lead and inspire the officers of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to do the same by treating all people with dignity, civility, and respect. Applicants for this position must have a proven history of instituting department cultural change and reform. Seattle is looking for a candidate with a track record of upholding high performance standards and morale in his/her previous department by using best practices, enforcing accountability, encouraging professional development, and promoting a positive, transparent environment.
The new Chief will demonstrate commitment to and enthusiasm for including minority and other disenfranchised communities through open, honest dialogue and being visible and engaged in these communities. S/he must be able to communicate effectively with all people from Seattle’s diverse communities, the Department, and the criminal justice system in a collaborative and proactive manner. It is imperative that applicant demonstrate new and innovative thinking including experience with harm reduction strategies, crisis intervention and de-escalation skills, as well as experience in problem-oriented policing that results in real solutions for individuals and neighborhoods. The applicant must demonstrate the ability to ensure that the diversity of Seattle’s citizenry is represented within the Department’s workforce.
The next Chief must understand the SPD’s role as part of the overall health of Seattle and have the ability to represent the best interests of both the Department and the City. At the same time, s/he must function as an effective advocate for the Department while balancing the needs of various stakeholder groups. The next Chief must have demonstrated the ability to form effective, positive relationships with labor organization members and leadership. S/he should be well-informed regarding key issues in urban policing and committed to remaining up-to-date on trends, research, and technology relating to urban policing and public safety.
The new Chief must be well respected among peers in law enforcement and have demonstrated experience in urban policing and strategic service delivery. Candidates must possess a combination of education and experience equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Public Administration, Law Enforcement, or a related field and at least five years of command-level experience in a medium-to-large law enforcement agency. A master’s degree is desirable.
Founded in 1869, the City of Seattle has become the largest city in the Northwest, a center for commerce, culture, science, and innovation situated between the salt waters of Puget Sound and fresh waters of Lake Washington. The Seattle area features picture-perfect views, a mild climate, and an abundance of recreational opportunities year-round.
Seattle’s population, of just under 635,000, exhibits a spirit of optimism, enterprise, and pride in our arts and cultural institutions, parks, professional and collegiate sports (including the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks!), famous Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market, and, above all, the beauty in the natural surroundings. The economy of the City is diverse, with key industries including aerospace, information and communications technology, clean technology, life sciences, and healthcare. Seattle serves as a vibrant metropolitan hub, offering a wide range of housing options, high education levels, communications connectivity, international diversity, and a culture of innovation.
Seattle is also a city of great diversity. The Seattle area was inhabited by Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before the first permanent European settlers, and the City is named after Chief Si’ahl of the local Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. In addition to Native Americans, Seattle has significant and distinct Asian, Asian Pacific Islander, African American, Latino, and East African populations. According to a 2010 United States Census Bureau report, Seattle’s 98118 zip code (in the Columbia City neighborhood) is the most multicultural zip code in the United States. Nineteen percent of Seattle’s residents are foreign born, and Washington is the 8th-largest refugee-receiving state in the country. Seattle also has a large LGBT population. The new Chief will become part of a City with very strong and historic neighborhoods marked by diverse cultures, traditions, and perspectives.
The Seattle Police Department takes great pride in having one of the lowest crime rates of any large, metropolitan city in the nation. The SPD is committed to a Community Policing model that crosses every initiative, program, policy, and procedure of the Department. Three tenets provide structure to the application of this model: Partnership, Problem-solving Policing, and Organizational Transformation.
The Department staff includes 1,302 sworn and 558 civilian members and has a budget just over $288 million dollars. Operations of the SPD are divided into five precincts, with a police station in each. This organizational model places neighborhood-based emergency response and order-maintenance services at its core, allowing the Department the greatest flexibility in managing public safety. Precinct officers investigate property crimes and crimes involving juveniles, while detectives in centralized units at SPD headquarters downtown conduct follow-up investigations into other types of crime. Under the auspices of the Office of Emergency Management, the SPD also has responsibility for enhancing the City’s capacity to manage a wide range of large scale public events, emergencies and disasters.
A document containing the full organization chart and more detailed information regarding the Seattle Police Department is available on the City’s website at: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/Mayor/SPD-overview.pdf
In August 2012 the City entered into a Settlement Agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve the DOJ’s finding that the SPD engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive or unnecessary uses of force. The Settlement Agreement covers: use of force, biased policing, stops and detentions, Early Intervention System, Office of Professional Accountability, crisis intervention, and supervision in general. This Agreement cannot be lifted until the SPD has demonstrated “full and effective” compliance for at least two years. The court-appointed Monitor was hired in October 2012 to oversee this process. Based on the current status, it is estimated to take four more years before the Settlement Agreement could be lifted. It will be essential for the new Police Chief to work closely with the Monitor to ensure the City’s continued progress on this issue.
As part of the Settlement Agreement, a research project was commissioned by the federal monitoring team in 2013 to assess community perceptions of the SPD. Key findings of the survey include:
The search for a new Police Chief was launched with an extensive public outreach process during January and February 2014 to identify a leader who will be challenged to successfully manage police reforms and garner public confidence. The resulting report details many additional challenges to be faced by a new Chief and can be found at
- A majority of Seattleites (60%) believe the police are doing an excellent or good job; however, this number conceals sharply lower views among African-American and Latino citizens;
- Most residents (65%) don’t believe the police treat people of all race and groups equally;
- 45% of all Seattleites believe the police use excessive physical force very or somewhat often; and
- The experience of Latinos and African-Americans back up the public’s perception that the SPD treats them worse than others.
This position offers an extraordinary opportunity for a bold and courageous Chief. The new Mayor has demonstrated his strong commitment to transforming the organization from good to great by making the selection of a new Chief his number one priority. The City Council, working collaboratively with the Mayor, has shown strong support for the police department by providing necessary funding for significant technological upgrades and passing legislation that will give an incoming Chief more flexibility and autonomy when selecting command staff members. In addition to the strong support for change from City officials, members of the SPD are extremely capable, dedicated, and ready for a strong leader after a year of extensive change and transition in the command ranks.
The salary range for the Chief of Police is $127,932-$211,076 annually; placement within the range is dependent upon qualifications. Seattle also offers an attractive benefits package, including:
Retirement Department of Retirement Systems.
Medical Insurance Choice of four medical, two dental, and two vision plans.
Vacation Thirty days annually.
Sick Leave Accrual of 96 hours annually.
Holidays Ten Observed Holidays and two Personal Holidays annually.
Optional benefits offered by the City of Seattle include Group Term Life Insurance; GTL Supplemental Insurance for employee, spouse/domestic partner, and children; individual or family Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance; basic and supplemental Long-Term Disability Insurance; health and dependent care Flexible Spending Accounts; and Deferred Compensation.
Following the closing date, resumes will be screened according to the qualifications outlined above. The most qualified candidates will be invited to personal interviews with the City of Seattle’s Selection Committee on April 21st and 22nd. A select group of candidates will be asked to provide references once it is anticipated that they may be recommended as finalists; references will be contacted only following candidate approval. Finalist interviews will be held with the Mayor of Seattle in early May. Candidates will be advised of the status of the recruitment following selection of the Police Chief.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Regan Williams or Sarah Kenney at: (916) 784-9080