Mayor Durkan appoints interim SPD chief, won’t look for permanent replacement in 2020

Aug 11, 2020, 12:58 PM
Adrian Diaz, seattle police...
SPD Chief Adrian Diaz. (Seattle Channel)
(Seattle Channel)

With SPD Chief Carmen Best announcing her retirement Tuesday, Mayor Jenny Durkan outlined her plans for filling the role in the weeks ahead.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best formally announces decision to retire

Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz will serve as the city’s interim police chief beginning Sept. 2. Diaz has served in the department for over two decades. He began his career in SPD as a patrol officer, later serving with the Bike Unit, as an undercover officer, and then a member of the investigations unit. Prior to serving as deputy chief, he was also the assistant chief for the Collaborative Policing Bureau.

Mayor Durkan intimated Tuesday that she doesn’t plan to begin a search for a new permanent police chief in 2020, citing the uncertainty surrounding what the department might look like in the future.

“They don’t know what job they’d be applying for,” she said. “If we start a search right now, I doubt we could attract the candidates Seattle deserves.”

Once Durkan does name a new SPD chief, that nomination will be subject to confirmation vote by the city council.

The last search for a new police chief in Seattle took place in 2018 after then-chief Katherine O’Toole stepped down, ultimately ending in Best’s appointment. The selection came after a controversial process, which saw Best left off the initial list of three finalists chosen by a 25-member search committee.

All three of the finalists in 2018 had not previously served with the Seattle Police Department. The list included: Eddie Frizell, inspector with the Minneapolis Police Department, serving for over two decades, also a colonel with the National Guard; Cameron McLay, former Pittsburgh police chief, also spent nearly three decades with the Madison Police Department in Wisconsin; and Ely Reyes, assistant police chief for the Austin Police Department serving for more than two decades, also served with U.S. Army and was a recipient of the Purple Heart.

BLM Seattle-King County calls Chief Best’s retirement a loss

Former Councilmember Tim Burgess helped lead the search committee, stating that the goal was to bring someone in to “change the culture of the police department.”

“We concluded that someone from outside the police department could best do that,” he said at the time.

There was a considerable uproar from the city’s police union and community members over Best being left off the shortlist, in the midst of what they viewed as a lack of transparency throughout the process. Supporters lauded her decades of service in the city’s police department, having moved through the ranks as an officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and deputy chief. After Cameron McLay dropped out of consideration, Best was added to the list of finalists before being appointed chief by Mayor Durkan in mid-July of 2018.

Local News

SDOT Light Rail Ped...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Pedestrian struck, injured by Link light rail train in south Seattle

A pedestrian was struck and injured by a Link light rail train Wednesday afternoon in south Seattle.
1 day ago
(Photo courtesy of King County)...
Frank Sumrall

King County executive initiates plan to conserve and save the region’s wilderness

King County executive announced a plan to protect 65,000 acres of forests, farmland, and greenspace, raising property taxes in the process.
1 day ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Drought may impact most of Pacific Northwest this summer

Drought is expected to impact much of the Pacific Northwest this summer, impacting areas throughout eastern Washington, southern Oregon and southern Idaho.
1 day ago
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)...
Frank Sumrall

SPD report discovers 80% of 911 calls were for non-criminal events

After reviewing more than 1.2 million 911 calls from 2017 to 2019, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) found 79.7% of calls were for non-criminal events.
1 day ago
KIRO 7 News Staff

9-year-old boy shot by younger brother in Federal Way

A 9-year-old boy was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center after being shot by his younger brother in Federal Way.
1 day ago
The US government will fly in baby formula on commercial planes contracted by the military in an ai...
Heather Bosch

A guide to locate baby formula from Washington’s Department of Health

Washington's Department of Health has put together a list of resources to help find nutritious food to feed your newborn.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Mayor Durkan appoints interim SPD chief, won’t look for permanent replacement in 2020