Seattle Culture

Adrian Diaz Out As Seattle Police Chief

Twenty-seven-year SPD veteran held the post for almost four years

By Rob Smith May 29, 2024

Adrian Diaz served as police chief for almost four years.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell has reassigned Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz. The move comes as the department faces several legal challenges.

Diaz was officially named chief of police by Mayor Bruce Harrell in September 2022 after he had served as interim chief since the summer of 2020, replacing Carmen Best. Harrell said former King County Sheriff Deputy Sue Rahr will serve as interim chief, calling her “an expert in recruiting.” Rahr served as King County sheriff from 2005 to 2012.

Several officers have alleged discrimination and retaliation within the department toward women and people of color. Harrell recently hired an outside firm to investigate those claims, which Diaz has denied. Four female officers recently filed a lawsuit against the department alleging sexual discrimination and harassment.

The department has also struggled to hire new officers.

Diaz admitted to Seattle magazine last year that the department was suffering from low morale, but insisted it was improving. He also said he wanted to hire 125 new officers each year. The city employs 1,200 full-time officers and 631 civilian employees, according to the city of Seattle website. The department is the largest law enforcement agency in Washington state.

In his 27-year career with the department, Diaz has served as a patrol officer, bike cop, an investigator, and an undercover officer. Harrell said Diaz will be working on “special assignments.”

The city will “immediately commence” a national search for its next police chief, Harrell said. Rahr will not be a candidate for permanent chief.

Harrell called Diaz “a friend,” and thanked him for his service, adding that overall crime across the city is down 5%.

“Culture change is very hard,” Harrell said, adding that police departments across the country are dealing with internal cultural issues. “I feel very confident we will have a chief that will help us change the culture.”

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