The new interim police chief is already off to a rocky start. When Mayor Ed Murray announced earlier this month that Harry Bailey would lead the Seattle Police Department, the mayor said Bailey could take decisive action toward reforming the troubled department. When it comes to complying with the federal consent decree under which SPD currently operates—after a US Department of Justice investigation found it had a history of excessive use of force and biased policing—Mayor Murray told the reporters, "I am not willing to wait for the hiring of a permanent chief to move forward."

But given Murray's fast-track timeline for hiring that new chief by April (Bailey says he has "no interest" in the permanent position), just what, exactly, can Bailey get done in four months?

Well, for starters, there are personnel shake-ups. After a December report from a federal court monitor overseeing SPD reform blasted senior command staff for stymieing reform by warring over policy, then-chief Jim Pugel demoted two senior staffers. After Bailey's arrival, another member of the command staff, Assistant Chief Mike Sanford, gave notice of his retirement.

While change at the top is needed, Sanford heading for the door isn't necessarily a good thing. He's named in that same report as showing an "admirable willingness to act with a sense of urgency and an ability to adroitly manage bureaucratic issues that could otherwise routinely thwart progress." Lisa Daugaard, policy director for the Public Defender Association, says Sanford "was a consistent leader in support of changing problematic policing practices."

Losing one of the only reformers in the top ranks isn't a great sign.

Chief Bailey, meanwhile, has newly promoted three captains to assistant chief and has promised to establish a Compliance and Reform Bureau to streamline the work toward full compliance.

How are we supposed to tell what's progress and what's just hot air? Here are three things Bailey must do in the next four to six months to prove he's reforming the SPD:

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