11:08 AM: The official announcement has just been made at City Hall: Mayor Ed Murray has appointed a new interim Chief of Police, retired former assistant chief Harry Bailey. The previous interim chief, Jim Pugel, returns to his previous assistant-chief role. The mayor is appointing a committee to help find a permanent chief and hopes it will happen fast – by April. More details are in this report from our partners at The Seattle Times (we’ll update the link when they publish a longer story later). Though Chief Bailey retired more than five years ago, he worked as a liaison/consultant for SPD and the mayor’s office as they worked through reform, ethics, and community relations in the past few years, as did Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Joe Kessler, who is with Bailey in the 2012 photo at right, shared with us during Night Out coverage, when the two visited SW Precinct Advisory Committee rep Pete Spalding (who shared the photo that night) and neighbors on Pigeon Point. First reaction in is from the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, which calls the appointment an “excellent decision,” adding, “Chief Bailey is highly respected by the rank and file officers and the communities of Seattle.”
12:10 PM: The official news release is out and it includes word of a new city website related to the search for a permanent chief; there we find that community forums are set as part of the search, including one in West Seattle, 6 pm January 30th at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW).
ADDED: The mayor has also sent a letter to the SPD rank-and-file – see it here (PDF).