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Chief Diaz selected to be Chief of Police

Here are the remarks made by Chief Diaz at the Mayor’s press conference:

Acceptance Remarks by Chief John Diaz

June 24, 2010

I would like to thank Mayor McGinn for the opportunity to continue to lead one of the finest police departments in the country.

It is no secret that I feel that policing is one of noblest professions that a person can undertake. It has incredible rewards and responsibilities.

I have to thank the great chiefs that I’ve worked for through my 30 years, from Pat Fitzsimons to Gil Kerlikowske.  My nomination sends a powerful message to the newest rookie on up to our most experienced professionals that you can aspire to lead this organization.

I started as a patrol officer, I always think of myself as a patrol officer, and now every Seattle Police Officer can see a path in their professional lives that could lead to the Chief’s office.

This last year has been one of great challenges.  We had an eight-day span that started with a neighborhood was paralyzed by fear of a serial arsonist and ending with the calculated execution of Officer Tim Brenton.  These horrible crimes were solved quickly with the great work of the officers and the close cooperation of our community.  During all of this time we did not have time to grieve.  Officers continued to handle 911 calls which continued into December with Officer Ben Kelly stopping a fugitive who had executed the four officers in Lakewood.  In the midst of all of this we successfully went through our third national accreditation audit by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

It is of no surprise to anyone who reads the paper and sees the news that our department has been tested and criticized in recent months.   I want you all to know that in a progressive department we take this scrutiny seriously and take the responsibility to address our challenges and shortcomings.  The plain truth of it is that no one is harder on the Seattle Police Department than itself.  And the other truth is that we can only succeed in keeping our community safe by working with, for and through the community.

To this end, we are in the midst of an ambitious initiative to survey every neighborhood in the city to determine the crime and disorder priorities from a community perspective.  We call this the “Neighborhood Viewpoint”, and it is central to the SPD neighborhood policing plan.  This expresses our philosophy that every neighborhood has different needs and priorities and that police services need to be delivered in a way that is responsive to our community.

The controversial incidents and the recent upsurge in violence during the late night and early morning weekend hours has my full attention and commitment to address these issues and reaffirm the high standards for which this department is nationally known.

And finally this is our opportunity to rededicate our focus on our highest mission – unfailing public safety service to the citizens of Seattle.

I cannot end this without thanking my wife Linda, a 23 year veteran of the department for her support.  When I put on this uniform every day I can’t help but think of the work the men and women of this department do and I can’t thank them enough.

Thank you again Mayor McGinn, I will go back to my desk this morning as we have deployment issues, budget and other matters to continue to deal with.