In the second major personnel move this week, Assistant Chief Nick Metz has been asked to step aside as a member of the Seattle Police Department's command staff, according to multiple sources within the department.
As KIRO Radio first reported Wednesday, Interim Chief Jim Pugel asked Metz to accept a demotion to the rank of captain. Sources said Metz resisted the demotion and consulted with an attorney, but the move was made official Wednesday afternoon.
Pugel sent the following email to members of the department:
I am announcing to all SPD employees some important personnel decisions. Out of consideration for the involved employees, I had hoped to make these announcements on December 2nd, but owing to rumors and disclosures that did not originate from my office I offer the following information via this internal communication.
I have asked Assistant Chief Nick Metz to return to his civil service rank of Captain. This is the permanent civil service rank that all Assistant Chiefs and - in my case - the Chief of Police hold. I thank Nick for his contributions in the role he held as Assistant Chief, and look forward to his continued efforts in the critical assignment of Captain.
I am also announcing my decision to promote Captain Carmen Best to the rank of Assistant Chief. She will command the Investigations Bureau. For those of you who have had the pleasure of working with her, you will know Carmen for her decisive leadership, efficiency as an administrator and tireless work ethic.
And, finally, I want to announce the assignment of Captain John Hayes to command the South Precinct. John is highly regarded as a leader in our department and has the privilege of having close ties to the precinct that he serves.
I have given extensive consideration to these decisions over the last weeks and months, and have been guided in my commitment to the four pillars of our mission: Justice, Excellence, Humility and Harm Reduction. I believe these decisions will help us to further our progress towards these important goals and I thank all of you for your dedication and service. I hope you and yours have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving and Chanukah.
Carmen Best's promotion to assistant chief to replace Metz comes just four months after her promotion to captain.
As assistant chief, Metz commanded the department's Criminal Investigations Bureau, which oversees the Homicide, Major Crimes, Gang, and other units.
This is the second time Metz has been demoted under Pugel, who has said publicly that he plans to seek the permanent Chief of Police job when mayor-elect Ed Murray takes office on January 1.
In his first day on the job as interim chief, Pugel demoted Metz from deputy chief to the rank of assistant chief and moved him from Patrol Operations to his current assignment. At the time, Pugel insisted that the move was not a demotion, but reflected "the command structure of most police agencies around the nation."
While a spokesman for the department declined to comment on the most recent move, sources said it may be tied to a highly critical report outlining the progress of police reforms. Earlier in the week, Assistant Chief Dick Reed was also demoted to his previous rank of captain.
Metz, a 30-year veteran of the department, released the following statement Wednesday, addressed to the community:
It has been decided that there will be a change in the face and structure of leadership at the Seattle Police Department. I have been recently informed that, effective December 2nd, I will not be part of that team.
Over the last 10+ years, as a member of the senior command staff, it has been my honor to serve this great city and its incredible people. Through the years there have been many public safety changes and challenges.
No matter what the change or challenge, the women and men of the Seattle Police Department (both sworn and civilian) have always stepped up, ready to serve our great city. Remembering how our incredible women and men responded to such incidents like Cafe Racer, May Day 2013, the manhunt to find the killer of Officer Timothy Brenton, the Jewish Federation Shooting, and the thousands of incidents every year should make us all feel very proud.
Though no longer a member of the senior leadership command, I will resume my leadership role as a Captain.
I will continue to serve this City with the same level of care and professionalism that I promised when I took my oath over thirty years ago.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you and our city as part of the senior command staff these many years. The friendships, support and words of encouragement I have received by so many of you in the community has only strengthened my commitment to continue serving you, no matter the rank or assignment.
My work and commitment to ensure that we make our city the safest, and at the same time continue to build strong community partnerships through professional and constitutional policing, is not yet finished. I love this job. I love this Department. I love this City.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to take good care of yourselves, and each other.