An Ear Inside – Seattle Police
There are two rules about cops. The first is that a happy cop is a better cop. The second is that cops are never happy.
Now that Seattle’s police chief, Gil Kerlikowske, is to be the new head of the Office of Drug Control Policy, the rank and file of the Seattle Police Department are hoping to become happier. While morale is a perennial problem at police departments everywhere, a number of officers in Seattle say their morale has suffered more than usual because their chief is so frequently out of town and top-heavy promotions and favoritism have become extreme. Two of the officers came forward to speak, but asked that their names not be used.
On Monday at 1:00, Mayor Greg Nickels will announce the acting chief, and many of the men and women in uniform fear that Deputy Chief John Diaz will be the one he names. “He’s an absolute zero,” said one veteran of the force. “He couldn’t make a decision if his life depended on it — he just sits and wrings his hands.”
They prefer Captain Dan Oliver. “If he got the position, it would turn morale around immediately,” said another experienced source from within the department. The officers consider Oliver one of their own, someone who gets the impacts of increased paperwork and cuts in equipment and budget. They point to Oliver’s clean record and confident decision-making, while rattling off a list of Diaz’ alleged and rumored misbehavior on and off the job.
“There’s no chance in hell, though,” said the first source. “Those idiots up in command wouldn’t even make Captain Oliver an assistant chief, though they had many opportunities to do it.” Why not? “He wouldn’t drink the Kool-Aid.”
Both sources said they spoke out while there was any hope at all. “I’d like to see them start with a whole new team, because the entire command staff is just dysfunctional.”
A local twist on those same sources here: Seattle Met