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The Right Person for the Job


I was delighted to learn that Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has nominated Carmen Best to lead the Seattle Police Department. Thanks, Mayor Durkan! Carmen is definitely the right person for the job.

During my three-and-half years as Seattle’s police chief, I was fortunate to have Carmen by my side. I promoted her to Deputy Chief soon after my arrival and have seen firsthand her tireless commitment to police reform and innovation. I also witnessed her concern for the community and her ability to build consensus, trust, and confidence. Since her appointment as Interim Chief following my departure, Carmen has successfully led the SPD with compassion and confidence.

Carmen rose through the ranks of the Seattle Police Department over the course of 26 years and cares deeply about all SPD members, sworn and civilian. She also maintains strong relationships with communities throughout the city, both in her professional capacity and personally in support of several important nonprofit causes.

Carmen will lead the department at a critical time for the City and the SPD. As a world-class city, Seattle is growing rapidly and demands on City services are increasing, particularly at the intersection of public health and public safety. Robust partnerships will be required to address these complicated issues, and I can think of no better person to promote effective collaboration.

In terms of police reform, Carmen worked tirelessly with me, our leadership team, department members, and the community to achieve “full and effective compliance” with the terms of the Consent Decree overseen by the Federal Court. Seattle is now considered the national leader for policies and training related to critical areas such as use of force, de-escalation, bias free policing, and mental health crisis intervention. Carmen and her team are well-positioned to sustain the successful reforms and continue on a trajectory of innovation.

I congratulate Mayor Durkan for choosing the person best qualified and best positioned to lead the SPD forward. It is a great honor to serve as Chief of Police in the City of Seattle and I know that Carmen Best will never take that privilege for granted. As always, she will demonstrate extraordinary work ethic and enthusiasm as she continues to foster partnerships and strengthen bridges between the Seattle Police Department and the community it serves.

Kathleen O’Toole is veteran law enforcement officer and leader who served as the Chief of Police for the Seattle Police Department from June 2014 to December 2017. In 2004, she became the first female police commissioner in Boston’s history.