The Withdrawal Method

The Seattle Times analyzes what Sacramento police chief Rick Braziel’s withdrawal from the chief race means (my analysis after the jump):

The sudden and unexpected withdrawal of Sacramento, Calif., Police Chief Rick Braziel as a finalist for Seattle’s next police chief leaves Mayor Mike McGinn with two distinctly different choices for the job.

One, John Diaz, is the consummate insider, a 30-year veteran who rose through the ranks to lead Seattle police through one of the department’s most tumultuous years in recent memory.

The other, Ron Davis, has been a chief for five years, albeit in a 39-officer department in the small San Francisco Bay Area town of East Palo Alto, population 33,000.

The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild has raised doubts about Davis’ experience because that city is so much smaller than Seattle.

But whether the choice becomes any easier for McGinn now that Braziel has dropped out is a question. The mayor wouldn’t say during a news conference Wednesday, although he did acknowledge he was “disappointed” with the withdrawal of Braziel, whom he called “a strong candidate.”

There’s a lot of rumor and shit-talking going on behind the scenes in the police department and city hall right now. The word is McGinn likes Davis. A lot.

But, just as there was with Diaz when he was appointed interim chief, there are a lot of rumors about Davis’s past floating around—some of which have been put out there by people who realllllllly don’t want him to get the job.

It’s also a bit of a mystery (or not, depending on who you ask) as to why Braziel dropped out. McGinn told reporters yesterday that he doesn’t believe he had anything to do with Braziel’s decision.

Whether he did or not, the guy who seemed like the most likely candidate for the job is out of the running. Now we’ve got the mumbly guy who’s been here forever, gets how to run operations, but has yet to show that he knows how to deal with being in the spotlight as chief. And the guy who was a chief in a realllllly small city, who has never managed a department anywhere near the size of Seattle’s.

The upside: cops are probably going to be unhappy about whichever of these dudes ends up with the job, and unhappy cops loooooooove to talk. This, of course, makes my job easier.

The downside: I have to live here, too.