Kathleen O’Toole announced as next Seattle Police chief, will be first female SPD chief if confirmed

Mayor Murray has just appeared at City Hall with his choice for Seattle Police Chief, Kathleen O’Toole, who will be the first female SPD chief if confirmed.

Speaking after Murray’s announcement, O’Toole said she has four themes:

*Public trust – “work tirelessly to restore” (it)
*Restore department pride – “if people make honest mistakes we’ll stand by them”
*Crime and quality of life – “I think we need to develop a plan for each neighborhood in this city,” including violence prevention
*Good business – “we’re running a large organization … we need to do it efficiently and effectively as possible”

In questions post-announcement, she said she hopes to visit the precincts often. “No one person can change this organization – it will be a collective, collaborative effort,” she added. And she called the job “the icing on the cake [for her career] not a stepping stone. … I love the fact that this city is an innovation city, second to none.”

As of this writing at 10:19 am, she’s still answering media questions (live stream here; we’ll add the video when it’s available later). You can read more about her in this recent Seattle Times (WSB partner) profile.

ADDED 4:45 PM: As promised, city-produced video of the announcement:

The mayor’s news release is here.

ADDED 5:57 PM: Read even more about the new chief, including the fact she doesn’t drink coffee, on SPD Blotter.

19 Replies to "Kathleen O'Toole announced as next Seattle Police chief, will be first female SPD chief if confirmed"

  • Scout 15 May 19, 2014 (11:07 am)

    Awesome choice!!!

  • C&Pcoffeelover May 19, 2014 (12:03 pm)

    She will make a difference no doubt. Good job Ed Murray.

  • Diane May 19, 2014 (12:34 pm)


  • Mike May 19, 2014 (12:37 pm)

    Did anyone doubt he would pick anyone else. The most politicaly correct choice of all.

  • Garden_nymph May 19, 2014 (12:39 pm)

    Congrats Ms. O’Toole. I look forward to the change you bring.

  • rocky raccoon May 19, 2014 (12:53 pm)

    There’s nowhere to go but up!

  • Curtis May 19, 2014 (1:09 pm)

    I just hate it hate it hate it when I hear people blather on about how they want some candidate for elective office to NOT be a politician. Case in point – Mayor McGinn made a big deal about not being a politician. Mayor Murray, was able to shepherd Marriage Equality through the state legislature over many years by working with everyone, but not getting ahead of himself. A true, effective Politician.

    I’ve been reading up on this choice. Ms. O’Toole seems to have the support of nearly everyone she’s worked for or who’s worked for her, including a glowing endorsement from the Nation of Islam leader in Boston and commendations from the grieving parents of the girl accidentally killed by Boston Police during the Red Sox victory riots.

    This is an outstanding choice and it’s proof that a professional politician – not a partisan hack, but the real deal – is what you want in a complicated political office. It looks to me as though Mayor Murray is going to do an outstanding job.

  • West Seattle Hipster May 19, 2014 (4:27 pm)

    She has quite a mess to clean up. I am hoping that she can effectively address the gang problem that seems to be growing in our city, particularly South Delridge and Rainier Valley.


    Best of luck Chief O’Toole, you are going to need it.

  • the best candidate wins May 19, 2014 (4:58 pm)

    of all three (err, as of the weekend: two) candidates, ms. o’toole was clearly the most accomplished and prepared to take on the job
    of leading the police dept. I’m somewhat appalled by mike’s comment that it is the most politically
    correct choice. whenever there’s a highly capable female candidate for a job, it never fails that someone will put that type of disclaimer in as opposed to lauding them for their personal and professional accomplishments, other politically correct aspects aside. would he have made that wNt if the final choice were one of the men? maybe she got the job because she was the right person
    for it! I’d like to think so. could it possibly be??!!

  • Gotb May 19, 2014 (7:07 pm)

    SPD chief is just as much a career ender as superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. My condolences to O’Toole, you made the wrong choice of employer. Two years in Seattle will make you toxic to other employers, three years ends you career. My advise: run away now. Don’t take the job in the first place if your career and personal well being matter to you at all. Run. Now.

    • WSB May 19, 2014 (7:32 pm)

      GotB … to your side point, actually, Susan Enfield’s done pretty well since leaving the Seattle superintendency; Highline’s been making some waves. And I wonder sometimes if John Stanford, had he not succumbed to cancer, might still be in charge, and whether things might have been different. Got the chance to interview him one day, not long before his death, as field producer for Kathi Goertzen, someone also gone too soon. But I digress. – TR

  • Bradley May 19, 2014 (7:10 pm)

    I’m sure criminals everywhere throughout Seattle are celebrating O’ Toole’s selection by Mayor Murray. Lock-up your valuables and roll your windows up.

  • miws May 19, 2014 (8:28 pm)

    I’m sure criminals everywhere throughout Seattle are celebrating O’ Toole’s selection by Mayor Murray.


    And why is that?


    Lock-up your valuables and roll your windows up.


    Shouldn’t people be doing that, regardless?



  • Bradley May 19, 2014 (10:26 pm)

    @Mike: ask anyone who lived in Boston under her tenure. She puts more emphasis on the well-being of violent criminals than hard-working, law-abiding taxpayers. And, locking up valuables and rolling up windows instead of more aggressively pursuing criminals is resigning oneself to crime instead of being proactive (ie; I was being sarcastic). Criminal-coddling is the last thing our city needs in these turbulent times.

  • Jeannie May 19, 2014 (10:33 pm)

    I wish her the best, but, damn, I hated when she said “Mistakes were made.” That is such a weasel-y, passive expression. Also, her TOP priority should be dealing with crime: gangs, car theft, shootings, etc.

  • Gwen Nelson May 20, 2014 (7:43 am)

    I KNOW people who lived in Boston under her tenure. She was not popular with Republicans. But, then, unless women are particularly stupid and willing to say anything for money, Republicans dislike women intensely.

  • phil dirt May 20, 2014 (7:46 am)

    “Also, her TOP priority should be dealing with crime: gangs, car theft, shootings, etc.”

    I totally agree, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting.

  • Bradley May 20, 2014 (12:15 pm)

    @Gwen: you just offended millions of republican women in one sentence. Wow. And, I happen to be a libertarian who loves my democrat wife immensely. @Jeannie: like you, I was concerned about that exact same statement from her as well. SPD has had a very long history of very bad police chiefs, so the bar has already been lowered nearly to the ground.

  • WSExpat May 20, 2014 (3:15 pm)

    This isn’t going to end well.

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