“During the campaign I talked about how public safety will be job one for my administration,” said Murray. “Broadly speaking, this means restoring the morale of police force, making critical reforms to our police force, and, ultimately, building confidence in our police force across our many diverse communities. Barney Melekian has rich and extensive experience in law enforcement at all levels of government, in academic research and as a consultant in the private sector. He comes extremely well-recommended, and his expertise and counsel will be invaluable to my transition team as we move forward.”
Melekian is president of The Paratus Group, a law enforcement consulting company he founded. Previously, he served four years as Director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). In 1996, Melekian became the Chief of the Pasadena Police Department in Pasadena, CA, a role he performed for thirteen years after twenty-three years of service throughout the ranks of local law enforcement. He has conducted internal reviews for the Oakland and Los Angeles police departments, has chaired a Blue Ribbon Commission created by the California Attorney General on SWAT policy, and has produced report on criminal justice and mental health for the Council of State Governments.Melekian holds a PhD in Policy, Planning and Development from the University of Southern California, and was an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at Santa Monica Community College from 1984 to 1996.
“I am pleased to have been asked to work with Mayor-elect Murray to advise his incoming administration on best practices in law enforcement and public safety policy,” said Melekian. “I have spent my entire adult life working with local law enforcement on these issues, and this is an exciting opportunity to continue that work.”
“I look forward to Dr. Melekian’s fresh perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing our police force,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “I believe his experience in the field as a sworn police officer and his well-regarded research on how communities view the legitimacy of police actions will gain the confidence of our officers and the people of Seattle.”
“The most important executive decisions by Mayor-elect Murray will be the selection of a new police chief, improving transparency in the police culture in the top ranks and executing an effective proactive policing plan,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “I look forward to working collaboratively with Mayor-elect Murray and moving forward with a sense of urgency on a public safety strategy that will advance positive changes in the police department.”
Melekian will also aid in the design of a national search for a new chief of the Seattle Police Department.
“The people of Seattle deserve nothing less than excellence in their next chief of police, and I view the selection of police chief as the most important decision I make over the next four years as mayor,” said Murray. “To find an excellent police chief, we need a clearly defined search process that attracts excellent candidates, ensures candidate confidentiality and engages our communities.”
Melekian will provide his services on a contract basis using funds from the Mayor-elect’s transition budget.