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SPD, Chief Carmen Best
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SPD officers line 5th Avenue to honor Chief Best on her last day with department

SPD employees lining Fifth Avenue in downtown Seattle. (Carmen Best, Twitter)

Wednesday marks the final day of Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best’s tenure with the department, after announcing her retirement in early August.

Both sworn and civilian SPD employees lined Fifth Avenue on Wednesday morning near the department’s downtown headquarters to honor the departing chief.

Best announced her retirement shortly after a city council vote to cut a portion of SPD’s remaining 2020 budget on August 10. She had been an outspoken critic of the council’s plans to cut SPD’s budget, citing concerns over public safety in a scenario where the department is forced to lose personnel.

She has served as SPD’s police chief since 2018, and has been with the department for 28 years, moving through the ranks as an officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and deputy chief. She is the first Black woman to ever serve as Seattle’s chief of police.

Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz will serve as the city’s interim police chief in the wake of Best’s retirement. 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 Jenny Durkan intimated in August 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.

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