Law Enforcement
10:47 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Former Boston Top Cop Kathleen O'Toole Picked To Head Seattle Police

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces Kathleen O'Toole as his nominee for Seattle chief of police.
Credit KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Kathleen O’Toole, formerly the Boston police commissioner and Ireland’s chief inspector, has been selected as Mayor Ed Murray's nominee as Seattle's top cop.

"She was honest, straightforward and willing to share information and quite honestly, that has been my frustration since the day after the election," Murray told reporters on Monday.

If the City Council approves the mayor's nomination, O’Toole faces a tough road ahead. She would inherit demands from the Department of Justice to address issues of excessive force and biased policing. She would also have to restore the community's faith in the department and appease the rank and file.

Murray cited O’Toole’s experiencing working with the Department of Justice in East Haven, Connecticut, on similar reform issues as a key factor in choosing her as the chief nominee.

When O’Toole took the podium on Monday, she outlined four themes she plans to implement as she moves into the chief position: public trust, crime and quality of life, department pride and “good business.”

She said she would work tirelessly to restore public trust by acknowledging past mistakes and improving communication. “I don’t think we can have public trust without transparency,” she said.

X marks the spot where Kathleen O'Toole, Murray's nominee for police chief, addressed Seattle media on Monday morning.
Credit KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

O’Toole said that reform ideas were most likely to come from those living, working and policing in the communities, stressing a collaborative attitude for reform solutions.

Asked how many Seattle officers live in Seattle, she dodged the question. “This chief will,” she said, to brief applause.

Police morale will also be a focus for her, she said.

“Give the troops the training, the direction, the encouragement they need,” she said. While “bad cops” won’t be tolerated, “If people make honest mistakes we’ll stand by them.”

Lastly, she said the department would be run like a business by utilizing technology and being as effective and efficient with available resources as possible.

O'Toole's nomination must be confirmed by the City Council to become official. Councilmember Bruce Harrell said that would happen in June. The requested salary being sent to the council, per Murray, is $250,000.

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