Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will replace Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel with Harry Bailey, a former assistant police chief who retired in 2007 with a reputation for forging close ties to the community, the Seattle Times reports. Murray is expected to announce the change today, adding another chapter to the tumult and change that have roiled the police department since the U.S. Department of Justice found in 2011 that officers too often resorted to excessive force.
Bailey's appointment could usher in a sweeping changing of the guard and makeover of the department, clearing the deck for a new permanent chief to be selected after a nationwide search. Murray is expected to announce the formation of a citizen committee to search for a permanent police chief, with a fast-track goal of making a hire in three to four months with the aid of a community panel. Murray has been consulting with a wide array of people, particularly Bernard Melekian, the former Pasadena, Ca., police chief and past Justice Department official. Bailey, 69, who served 35 years in the Seattle Police Department, most recently worked for former Mayor Mike McGinn. In 2012, the city reached a landmark settlement agreement with the Justice Department that required broad reforms to address excessive force and biased policing.