By PATRICIA MURPHY
Seattle’s Community Police Commission is asking the City Council to delay confirmation hearings for a new police chief until it can examine the selection process more closely.
The civilian advisory commission sent a letter to Council President Bruce Harrell Thursday expressing concerns about finalists selected by Mayor Jenny Durkan.
The commission says it asked the mayor’s office for multiple records on the search process three weeks ago, but has not received them. Of chief concern to commission members is that acting Police Chief Carmen Best wasn’t a finalist. Best was the only woman and the only local candidate.
Neither the council nor the mayor’s office have commented on the letter. The Mayor’s office sent a response to the CPC Friday.
Isaac Ruiz, co-chair of the commission, said they had been assured orally from the mayor’s office that the documents are coming soon. “What we’re hoping to accomplish is to have the CPC get that information and issue findings or recommendations or whatever comes out of this process — at a time when it could actually still make a difference in the process,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz said the commission is just trying to do its job and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Even though he’s been closely following the search, Ruiz said he still doesn’t have a clear understanding of how the finalists were selected. “On the other hand, I think we have to wait to see what the documents show. And if those documents lead to other questions, we’ll ask those follow-up questions. It’s what we owe the community,” Ruiz said.
The commission has retained an equal employment opportunity expert to review the search process for legal problems. It plans to report back to council when the review is complete.