Vowing to create a police force “second to none,” Kathleen O'Toole was sworn in as chief of the Seattle Police Department yesterday after the City Council voted 8-to-1 to confirm her for a job that will immediately test her ability to carry out federally mandated reforms, restore morale throughout the ranks and rebuild community trust, the Seattle Times reports. O'Toole, 60, became the first woman to be confirmed for the job. She served as Boston's first female police commissioner from 2004 to 2006.
“I want members of the Seattle PD to hold your heads high,” O'Toole said. “We're going to work together and we're going to accomplish some great things.” Councilmember Kshama Sawant cast the sole vote against confirmation, citing concern over O'Toole's stated intention of running the department like an efficient business. Sawant said businesses are not accountable to people. O'Toole replaces Interim Chief Harry Bailey, a retired Seattle assistant chief who was named to the position in January when Murray took office. Seattle has been without a permanent chief since John Diaz announced his retirement in April 2013. O’Toole takes over a beleaguered Seattle department, which has been operating for two years under a federal consent decree to curtail excessive force and biased policing.