Kathleen O & # 39; Toole has served as Seattle Police Chief since 2014, when she was nominated by former Mayor Ed Murray and confirmed by the City Council.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole will resign at the end of the year, according to Mayor Jenny Durkan's office, ending months of speculation about the future of O & # 39; Toole in the middle of a tumultuous time in the government of the city.
O & # 39; Toole will leave office on December 31 and Deputy Chief Carmen Best will serve as interim chief from January 1, the mayor's office said in a press release.
Durkan, who is expected to launch a national search for a new chief, scheduled a press conference at 11 am on Monday at City Hall to announce the next steps and comment on the city's ongoing police reform effort .
Durkan previously expressed his respect for O & # 39; Toole, saying that he would retain her as boss, and O & # 39; Toole is known to hold Durkan in high esteem.
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But O & # 39; Toole has been reflecting on his future since May, when former Mayor Ed Murray, who selected her in 2014, announced that he would not seek re-election because of allegations that he badually abused teenagers decades ago. O & # 39; Toole's husband, Dan, was also recovering from serious health problems.
She almost quit at that time, but decided to follow at the behest of others to help the city go through a difficult period.
Your departure is consistent with your professional life. O & # 39; Toole has spent much of her career as what she calls an "agent of change", working with law enforcement agencies in the United States and Ireland to carry out reforms, rather than as a long-term leader. O & # 39; Toole was the first Boston police commissioner from 2004 to 2006.
O & # 39; Toole has been widely praised for her efforts to change the Seattle Police Department in accordance with a mandatory federal consent decree , signed in 2012, which requires the announcement of his departure comes at a critical time, since the US District Judge, James Robart, is considering that the pending request of the city is in full and effective compliance the law. the decree of consent.
Durkan's victory in the mayoral election on November 7 made it easier for O & # 39; Toole to cement his previous plans to leave. It was Durkan, who in his previous position as US Attorney in Western Washington, oversaw, along with the US Department of Justice. UU., The Seattle Police Department investigation that resulted in the consent decree.
Robart previously noted that he would be looking at the result of the mayoral election.
During O & # 39; Toole's 3 and a half year term, she oversaw a remodeling of the command staff, the implementation of body cameras and the prompt release of more information after fatal shootings by officers. He also met tirelessly with community groups.
O & # 39; Toole suffered a setback in 2016, when a jury of the King County Superior Court determined that he had retaliated against two of the three officers who were transferred from the South Campus in a dispute over the handling of payment of overtime.
The jury found that O & # 39; Toole retaliated against a veteran sergeant, Ella Elias, and Captain David Proudfoot, who was the commander of the compound. The jury awarded $ 1.9 million to Elias, the central figure in the case, and $ 932,000 to Proudfoot.
During the trial, the jury heard accusations that O & # 39; Toole retaliated against Elias after she complained that the lucrative overtime payment had been incorrectly directed at four favored black officers. The jurors also heard complaints that O & # 39; Toole transferred Proudfoot and the third officer, Lt. Steve Strand, because they opposed the department's plan to transfer Elias, who is white, to another precinct.
During the trial O & # 39; Toole testified that she transferred the three supervisors to defuse a "powder keg" among the officers at war.
The city is appealing the verdict.
O & # 39; Toole is expected to continue working with the Commission on the Future of Police in Ireland, a position she was nominated in May to help carry out reforms in response to disputes involving the police of that nation.
Previously, she was the Chief Inspector of Garda Siochana Inspectorate, an agency that inspects the operations and administration of Ireland's national police force from 2006 to 2012. She was also a member of the Independent Monitoring Commission for Northern Ireland, the Patten Commission, which was established in 1998 to investigate police action in the North. In Ireland.
O & # 39; Toole is also expected to participate in the reform efforts involving the Chicago Police Department and possibly the Baltimore Police Department.
Seattle City Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw praised O & # 39; Toole.
"With the work that" We have done around police responsibility, your leadership has helped us move from where we were, in trouble with the Department of Justice, to a place where we are at the peak of great success " , Bagshaw said. "I hope we continue from where it led to closer and better community involvement."
When choosing a new police chief, the city must always weigh the advantages of a stranger's perspective against the value of the local experience, Bagshaw said.
"That's something you balance," he said. "You can bring someone from abroad with the talent and respect of O & # 39; Toole. But she did not have the connection with our community. You can bring someone local, but does that individual have national and international respect and experience? "
Baghsaw said that internal candidates, including Chief Deputy Chief Best, should be considered as the city will elect a new permanent chief.
" We might be able to look internally again, because we have some excellent people who have risen in the ranks, "he said." (The best thing is) someone with whom I've known and with whom I've worked for years. It would be a super candidate to consider, and there are others (in the department) as well. "
The Seattle Police Officers Guild, the union representing more than 1,300 sworn officers and sergeants, issued a statement on Monday thanking Or "Toole for your leadership.
"Chief O & # 39; Toole guided the department through the difficult task of completing all the evaluations required under the Department of Justice's Conciliation Agreement," the union said. "This was done in record time and is a testament to their persistence and ability to place people in the right positions, so that compliance with the DOJ Agreement Agreement can be completed."
The guild also congratulated Best for his decision pending appointment as interim chief.
"Chief Best has gone through the ranks and SPOG has full confidence in its ability to lead the department and continue the work that was done by Chief O & # 39; Toole," the statement said.  In addition to the announcement of the chief of police, Durkan will announce that Barb Graff, director of Emergency Management, and Harold Scoggins, head of the Seattle Fire Department, will remain in their posts.
Seattle Times staff journalist Daniel Beekman contributed to this story.