So we’re totally gonna have a new police chief sometime in the next hour. Mayor McGinn is holding a super-secret press conference at 9:30 (it’s super secret because the press release from his office said absolutely zero about what the presser’s about), and the smart money is on him announcing a new chief.
So who will it be?
Ron Davis? John Diaz? Some bike cop?
The police guild doesn’t seem wild about Davis. He’s never run a department anywhere close to the size of SPD, plus there’s been plenty of behind-the-scenes rumor/mudslinging which no one seems to have been able to substantiate (other than his nickname in the Oakland police department: “The Maniac.”) The city council doesn’t seem psyched about Davis either, but they’d be hard pressed to block the confirmation of Seattle’s first African-American police chief.
So why would McGinn pick Davis? Well, he’s a reform guy—and an “expert,” according to his resume, on unconstitutional and bias practices in policing—and this is also McGinn’s chance to put “his guy” at the top of the department.
That said, after the amount of time McGinn has spent with Diaz at press conference in the last month or so, it seems pretty obvious that he’s the guy. But who fuckin’ knows.
I’ve knocked Diaz around for his lack of charisma and ability to deal directly with reporters—which I still say is a huge part of the job—but the man’s got institutional knowledge out the wazoo. He doesn’t seem to be overwhelmingly disliked amongst the rank-and-file (unusual, although he hasn’t been chief long) and how can you not love the man’s rosy cheeks and mustache?
Now, while he seems to have a good grasp on the operational side of things, Diaz hasn’t been quick to deal with personnel issues within the department.
Under Diaz, SPD wasn’t quick to move on the “Mexican-piss” beating near Lake Union, and last week’s jaywalking incident could’ve been handled with a bit more finesse.
Also, there’s been some buzz amongst female officers in the department that Diaz is part of the good ol’ boys club. The highest ranking woman in the department currently is a captain at North Precinct. That’s not great. We can do better.
So, after all of that, McGinn’s gotta pick one of those guys, right? Nah.
There’s the possibility that McGinn picks some wild unknown candidate, or reboots the chief search (doubtful) but I think everybody, including McGinn himself, is about ready for this to be over.