Forum questions Seattle police chief candidates on officer misconduct
SEATTLE - The three finalists for police chief faced a very different line of questioning at a community forum on Wednesday night. Instead of getting their take on crime-fighting, much of the focus was on dealing with officer misconduct.
Hosted by the police accountability group Not This Time, the forum was one in a series of community meetings the finalists are taking part in over the course of the week.
First up was Seattle's Interim Police Chief Carmen Best. Among the questions she was asked was how she would get officers to understand the culture of the people they police.
“Everybody has their biases, so what we have to do is make sure people are operating from a place where those biases aren't affecting the way they are interacting with people,” Best said.
Eddie Frizell has had a long career with the Minneapolis Police Department. Frizell was pressed on how he would get police to de-escalate confrontations instead of simply firing their guns.
“You need a leader out there that will not only enforce reform, but will get back up behind the boots on the ground training," Frizell told the crowd.
Ely Reyes with the Austin Police Department was the final candidate. He said knowing the people in the community is the best way to protect them.
“The time to build a relationship is not after you have a critical incident,” Reyes said. “The time to build a relationship is before. The time to build a relationship is now."
Mayor Jenny Durkan will interview the finalists on Friday. Its expected she will make her selection before the end of the month.