Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels named Deputy Police Chief John Diaz as interim successor to Chief Gil Kerlikowske, who has been nominated to serve as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The choice was reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which published its last print edition today. Diaz, a 29-year police veteran, has been a deputy chief since 2001.
Diaz plans to focus on reducing youth violence and completing the department’s neighborhood-policing plan, which is intended to more efficiently send police officers where they’re needed. Nickels plans a “transparent” search for a permanent successor and will seek opinions from neighborhood groups and other stakeholders. Diaz, 51, plans to apply for the permanent position. Nickels may wait until after November’s election because top-tier candidates might be reluctant to take a job for a mayor running for re-election. City Councilman Tim Burgess, chairman of the public safety committee, said he would have preferred the mayor select an interim chief who was not interested in the job permanently.