Seattle Gets First Female Police Chief

SEATTLE (CN) – Former Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole will be Seattle’s first female police chief, tasked with leading a troubled department under a Justice Department consent decree for using excessive force.
     Mayor Ed Murray announced O’Toole’s nomination Monday. She must be approved by the City Council.
     “The Seattle Police Department deserves the best leadership possible to drive ongoing reform efforts,” Murray said. He said O’Toole has a “long history” of working with the Justice Department on civil rights issues and police reform.
     O’Toole, who also served as chief inspector of the Irish national police force, said she’s up for the challenge of heading Seattle’s police.
     “I am incredibly honored and humbled to be appointed to this position,” she said.
     O’Toole said she would work “tirelessly” to restore public trust in the police department and to implement the requirements of the consent decree.
     U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, who filed the decree on behalf of the Justice Department, praised O’Toole’s past work in a statement.
     “Commissioner O’Toole has a reputation for strong, effective and community based policing. She has experience running a large police department and also has recently worked with a police department operating under a consent decree with the DOJ,” Durkan said.
     O’Toole was appointed in 2013 as a federal monitor to oversee the police in East Haven, Connecticut’s compliance with a consent decree to address racial bias and excessive force.
     The Seattle Police Department was placed under a consent decree in 2012 after an 11-month investigation by the Justice Department found routine use of excessive force and civil rights violations. The department must reach compliance with the decree, which includes court-mandated changes such as a revised use-of-force policy and crisis intervention training for officers, by 2017.
     O’Toole will go through a confirmation process that includes at least two public hearings and a City Council vote and is set to be complete by the end of June.

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