FILE - Adrian Diaz

Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, left, addresses a news conference about changes being made at the department as Mayor Jenny Durkan looks on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Seattle. The Seattle Police Department is reassigning 100 officers from specialty units to patrol in hopes of increasing community engagement and speeding up 911 responses. Durkan and Diaz described the changes as part of the city's broader efforts to reimagine the role of officers in response to anti-racism and anti-police protests that have gripped the nation following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(The Center Square) – After months of searching for Seattle’s next permanent police chief, Mayor Bruce Harrell announced interim Chief Adrian Diaz as his nomination for Seattle's permanent chief of police.

Harrell initiated the search in April with a search committee, numerous community engagement sessions and public surveys to find the right person for the role. Earlier this month, the committee advanced three candidates to Mayor Harrell, including Diaz. The Seattle City Council has to confirm Harrell's selection of Diaz before he can hold the position permanently.

“I approach this work with optimism, mindful of the trust that was shattered by the events of 2020,” Diaz said in a press conference. “I remain 100% committed to this department, the City of Seattle, and I look forward to working on behalf of all people as Chief of Police.”

Following the death of George Floyd, protests in Seattle drew attention nationwide. Diaz was appointed interim chief in September, 2020 and reworked Seattle police’s crowd management policies and procedures to include a public order engagement team to reduce the need for the use of crowd control tools.

When Harrell was inaugurated in January, 2022, he said he would hold off on a national search for a permanent police chief to instead evaluate Diaz for the job.

“We looked for candidates across the department and across the nation, elevated the voices of the community and closely examined applicants’ qualifications and skills,” Harrell said. “Chief Diaz was the clear choice to respond to concerns about crime and safety and to drive the effective response that will make a real impact.”

Seattle has been in the process of "reinventing" its police department since Diaz took the role of interim chief of police. But crime has been on the rise. 

The number of shootings in Seattle in 2021 represented a 10 year high. There were more than double the amount of shootings in 2021 (174) as compared to 2013 (70). In the current year, the number of shootings is on pace to pass the 2021 total. As of Aug. 31, there have been 146 shootings in the city. There are already more fatal shootings in 2022 (31) than in all of 2021 (24), according to the Seattle Police crime dashboard.

Along with crime increasing, Diaz is dealing with a police staffing shortage. Over 400 officers have departed in the last two and a half years, according to Diaz.

When the city released the 2022 proposed budget, 23% of the general fund was dedicated to SPD.

Mayor Harrell’s Office was not able to disclose any costs of the Seattle Police Chief search that resulted in Diaz’s appointment. The Seattle City Council still has to vote to confirm Diaz's appointment.

Staff Reporter

Spencer Pauley reports on Seattle and the King County area of Washington. He was previously an independent filmmaker and worked on "The Clinton Affair," a documentary series investigating the impeachment proceedings of former President Bill Clinton.