Report: Kathy O’Toole in line to take charge of Seattle police force
By BIR staff, special to the BIR, June 2, 2014
Kathleen O’Toole, onetime Boston police commissioner police commissioner (2004-2006) and former inspector general of Ireland’s police force, the Garda Inspectorate, has been nominated to be the chief of police in Seattle.
The announcement of O’Toole’s new posting was made in a Memorial Day ceremony by Seattle’s new mayor, Ed Murray. She was selected over two men who were also finalists for the job, the chiefs of police in Elk Grove, CA, and Mesa, AZ.
If confirmed by the Seattle City Council, O’Toole will become the first woman to head that city’s 1,300-member police force. She will meet soon with members of the council’s Public Safety committee, and the full council is scheduled to vote on her confirmation on June 30, according to published reports.
County Executive John Lovick, a member of the search committee, wrote in the Seattle Times that “Everyone who lives, works and visits Seattle should feel confident in the selection of Kathleen O’Toole as the next police chief. The impression she left upon me and others on the committee after her interview is still fresh in my mind. I remember former King County sheriff and fellow committee member Sue Rahr and I turning to each other and uttering a silent but exaggerated ‘wow’ when O’Toole finished speaking with us and walked out of the room.
“Her résumé is far more than a list of accomplishments to brag about at dinner parties. It is a study in successful law-enforcement-agency reforms around the country — and the world.”
The city’s police force has been commanded by two interim police chiefs since the former chief resigned under a cloud in April 2013. According to a May 19 report in the Los Angeles Times, the city’s police department “has been operating under a federal consent decree that required stiff reforms to combat excessive force and biased policing.”
If confirmed by the Council, O’Toole will take the position with a salary of $250,000.