Council aims to allow police chief to hire from outside SPD ranks

SEATTLE -- Are police chief candidates staying away from Seattle because of a policy from the 1970s? The Seattle City Council thinks so, and that's why it's making a controversial recommendation.

Right now, a rule forbids Seattle police chiefs from hiring assistant or deputy chiefs from outside the department.

Councilmember Bruce Harrell says that is an unusual restriction, and he believes it's keeping top-tier candidates away. He wants to do away with the policy.

The Seattle Police Management Association has a problem with this. The union representing captains and lieutenants says it limits potential advancement, but Harrell disagrees.

"We are under an unprecedented Department of Justice settlement," Harrell said. "We're going to spend millions and millions of dollars toward that end, and change starts at the top."

Look for the Council to vote on the issue in January.