Sources within Seattle police confirm to KOMO News that former SPD assistant chief Harry Bailey will take over as new interim police chief as new Seattle Mayor Ed Murray launches a nationwide search for a permanent chief.
Bailey will replace Jim Pugel, who stepped in after John Diaz retired last year.
The move comes less than a week after Murray took office. His office isn't giving a reason for the move, but there has been speculation Murray's search for a new chief would be a tough one if one of the main candidates, namely Jim Pugel, already held the interim chief spot.
Bailey held the rank of assistant chief when he stepped down in 2007, and had been with the department since 1972. Since his retirement, Bailey has served as head of security for Mount Zion Baptist Church.
Reverend Aaron Williams knows Bailey well and is happy with Murray's choice to bring him back to the department.
"I think Mayor Murray is making a bold statement and I think it's a good statement in terms of letting the community know that he's serious about police reform and that he's serious about establishing a strong relationship in the city of Seattle and making it a beloved community," Williams said.
Rosalie Stroud, who works on the church's board of trustees, is also happy with the choice.
"He has built great relationships in the community that I believe will allow him to take this position where it needs to go," Stroud said.
In his inauguration speech Monday, Murray talked about the need to push through the reforms ordered by the Department of Justice and that would require wasting no time in a search for new police chief.
Murray is expected to officially announce the change in the coming days.