(WSB photo added 1:17 pm, from City Hall announcement this morning – see updates at end of story)
7:47 AM: Before Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole returns to West Seattle tonight, she’s formally introducing her new command staff downtown this morning. One of the new Assistant Chiefs is Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske, as announced via SPD Blotter this morning. From that announcement:
Steve Wilske, currently the commander of the Southwest Precinct, has served for more than 28 years with the department in a variety of roles, including Homicide and Crime Scene and Use of Force investigation. At Southwest, Steve brought his CSI background to bear, as he pushed the importance of scouring every single crime scene for fingerprints.
I was looking for a commander who could plunge right into leading the patrol operations section, so it seems fitting that Steve has a degree in commercial diving.
Wilske has led the Southwest Precinct for 13 months, since January of last year, following the one-year encore by Capt. Joe Kessler. No mention yet of a successor. The chief’s “Continuing the Conversation” meeting in West Seattle is at 6:30 tonight at (corrected) the Senior Center of West Seattle in The Junction (Oregon/California); she will introduce her new team to the media downtown at 11 am.
11:01 AM: Live webcast of the formal introductions at City Hall is about to start – we have a crew there to follow up, and you can see the Seattle Channel webcast here.
11:19 AM: Now-Assistant Chief Wilske has just been introduced by Chief O’Toole, who speaks of his fast work in creating neighborhood policing plans as well as the respect that officers have for him and his visibility in the field. He speaks briefly, saying that he knows the difficulty and danger of patrol work and is honored to be put in a position to lead those doing it. No information yet about who will succeed him as SW Precinct commander, but we have a crew at the downtown event and will be asking afterward.
11:33 AM: Our crew asks about that during open Q/A at the downtown event. Chief O’Toole says she and Asst. Chief Wilske will “get that done very soon,” and mentions tonight’s community meeting as a chance to talk with community about it.
1:21 PM: We talked with Wilske at City Hall after the announcement and he told us he’s “had a blast” as SW commander. We have the interview on video and will add it above this paragraph as soon as it’s uploaded (update – added). The official city news release about his promotion and other SPD appointments (he is one of four new assistant chiefs; four current ones were demoted) says his new job starts immediately.