September marks the first month that former Deputy Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz takes over as Interim Police Chief following the retirement of former Police Chief Carmen Best in August.
The transfer of power followed a tense August City Council budget meeting during which a majority of city lawmakers elected to reduce Best’s salary by 40% and reduce the force through the layoffs of 100 officers amid demands to reduce the overall department budget by 50%.
Mayor Jenny Durkan is expected to announce her plans to find a permanent police chief later this year.
Best, who served in the department for nearly 30 years, refused to oversee a large reduction in the force, particularly because it would eliminate many officers of color with the least seniority in the unionized workforce. Best had overseen efforts to diversify the force in recent years by hiring more officers of color.
Diaz, a veteran of nearly 20 years with the department, has worked in patrol and in undercover work with the Anti-Crime Team before joining the Investigations Bureau. He has overseen several citywide youth violence reduction initiatives and was instrumental in setting up the partnership with the Puget Sound Crime Gun Task Force of the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.