Four applicants are remaining in Seattle’s search for a new police chief. KIRO Radio reported the results of the nationwide search on Friday.
Robert Lehner is currently the chief at Elk Grove Police Department in Arizona. Lehner has 30 years of law enforcement experience and previously served as the police chief in Eugene, Oregon. Prior to that, he served as an assistant police chief for the Tucson Police Department.
Patrick Melvin is a chief at Salt River Police Department, also in Arizona. Melvin served for 21 years on the Phoenix Police Department before retiring at the rank of commander. He has also served as police chief in Maricopa, Arizona.
Frank Milstead is being considered for the role, too. Milstead is the current chief at Mesa Police Department. Milstead has led the Department since 2010, following a 25-year career with the Phoenix Police Department.
Kathleen O’Toole is a former police commissioner for the Boston Police Department. O’Toole began her career in law enforcement in Boston in 1979 and rose through the ranks to become Boston Police Commissioner in 2004. She currently heads a private consulting firm in Boston.
The co-chairs of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s police chief Search Committee have vocalized their support for all four candidates.
“We are very appreciative of the all the individuals who’ve expressed interest in becoming Seattle’s next chief of police – particularly of the four candidates whose names are now public,” said Ron Sims. “Each of the candidates identified thus far has the background, the skills and the commitment that Mayor Murray has articulated as critical attributes of the next chief of police – integrity, management experience, the ability to be a change agent and drive reform. All are highly regarded in their communities and each would make incredible contributions to ours.”
Sims added, “We didn’t initially plan to confirm the identities of candidates before the Committee sends its three finalists to the Mayor, but after checking with each of the four, we are confident that each remains a viable, enthusiastically interested, potentially game-changing candidate for chief of police.”
“While we value the importance of confidentiality to the police chief search, we determined that, with the identities of some candidates now publicly known, a fully confidential process is no longer possible at this stage,” said Pramila Jayapal.
“We also understand and appreciate the public’s desire to know details of this critically important process as it unfolds. Which is why at this time we are confirming that the Search Committee is asking the four outstanding candidates recently identified in the press to complete a competitive exam before potentially advancing to the next stage of the vetting process for the chief of police position,” Jayapal added.
The search is still far from over.
“Over the coming weeks, we will continue to screen and thoroughly evaluate these and other applicants as the Search Committee makes progress toward our goal of recommending the best three individuals from our highly talented pool of applicants to Mayor Murray for his final review and selection by mid-May,” Jayapal concluded.