We've been bitching and moaning about how the city's police chief should face periodic reconfirmation, but now Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell is taking our complaints to the next level: an adult conversation.
Harrell, chair of the council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee, is hosting a discussion during this Wednesday's 2 p.m. committee meeting on whether the city should require periodic council reconfirmation of the police chief.
Every department head in the city except the fire chief and police chief are subject to periodic reconfirmation by the city council. As it currently stands, these two positions are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council, but are not revisited after that.
We've given Chief Diaz and his department shit for various scandals over the past few years, but this isn't about grudges and it isn't wholly about Diaz. Chances are, he could do anything short of shitting into the yawning mouth of Sally Bagshaw and still be rubber-stamped.
This is a transparency issue. It's about holding the head of one of city's largest departments—certainly the one with the most guns—accountable for the job he's doing. Reconfirmation gives the public an opportunity to review the chief's leadership, to publicly question or criticize his decisions, to praise his accomplishments, and question how his vision for a safer city is progressing.
We demand this of nearly every other department head. We should demand it of the police chief as well. (And the fire chief, if you ask me. More process-laden public hearings, I say! Mooooooar!!!)