Harry Bailey, a former assistant chief and longtime Seattle police veteran, will be named interim police chief Wednesday by new mayor Ed Murray, sources tell KIRO 7.
KIRO 7 reported last week that Murray planned to name a new interim Seattle police chief on Tuesday, but in a tweet to KIRO 7 the mayor said he’s made “no decision on an interim chief.” A spokesman later said a Tuesday press briefing to discuss police reform and leadership was cancelled after KIRO 7’s report.
In addition to being assistant chief, Bailey also served as a Seattle Police Officers Guild vice president and left the department in 2007 to become security director for the Seattle Supersonics. But he returned to Seattle police in 2012 after Mayor Mike McGinn asked him to oversee the city’s 20/20 reform plan.
Bailey, who turns 70 this year and started with the department in 1969, also working on former Chief Gil Kerlikowske’s command staff overseeing police precincts and has volunteered as security director at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle.
Murray’s staff acknowledged that there was talk of appointing a new interim chief, but the mayor said a decision had not been made and that the job had not been offered. Police said there was talk of Bailey taking the job, be a department spokesman said he declined.
*As commenter bigyaz notes, the Seattle Times appears to have gotten this out first. Good fucking work, guys!
Asked to confirm the news, Murray press secretary Rosalind Brazel offered a simple "No comment." She did say that the original press conference, set for today, was canceled because "the mayor wanted to consider the ramifications of Pugel applying in his position as interim chief." But a city hall source confirms that Bailey will indeed be announced as new interim chief tomorrow.
This is all happening because Murray has said that someone serving as interim police chief wouldn't be considered for the permanent job; Pugel has been open that he wants to apply for the position. But as Dominic reported in December, the ramifications will be interesting. If Pugel does step down and Bailey steps up, will Bailey be a lame-duck chief?
Also: Why has Murray been running away from this? He was all set to announce everything this morning, then KIRO scooped him and he canceled it. Now they've just done it all over again with even more information than last time. Just have your presser and be done with it, Mayor, jeez. Word is that'll come tomorrow morning, but Brazel says, "We have not rescheduled the press conference."