SEATTLE -- Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole said Monday she was shocked to receive a call from the White House inviting her to be a guest at President Obama's final State of the Union Address Tuesday night.
O'Toole will be seated in First Lady Michelle Obama's guest viewing section in the U.S. House of Representatives, along with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
In a statement Sunday, the White House said those chosen to sit in the First Lady's box represent the progress made since President Obama was first elected in 2008.
"The guests personify President Obama’s time in office and most importantly, they represent who we are as Americans: inclusive and compassionate, innovative and courageous," the statement said in part.
The White House also praised Chief O'Toole's approach to "community policing," and public transparency, including her leadership role in establishing a pilot program for body-worn police cameras.
O'Toole stopped to talk to reporters at Sea-Tac International Airport Monday morning as she was preparing to fly to Washington, D.C.
"It's a huge honor because I can represent our community. I can represent the hard-working men and women of the Seattle PD. I can represent the mayor, who made police reform his top priority, so this isn't about me. This is about all of us, as a team, working hard at this."
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Chief O'Toole's selection shows the White House believes the steps taken by the Seattle Police Department can serve as a model across America.
“While we still have much more work to do, it’s a strong statement that the Administration is recognizing Seattle’s leadership on this national priority during the President’s final State of the Union," said Mayor Murray.
The other Puget Sound guest on the First Lady's list is Nadella, who took over as Microsoft's CEO in February 2014.
The White House noted Nadella's work in expanding access to computer science in classrooms and his outspoken support for teachers.
Nadella was also applauded for increasing paid leave for new mothers -- from 8 weeks to 20 weeks.
Obama’s State of the Union Address before Congress is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. (PT).