Seattle police chief finalists make last pitch for job

The three finalists for police chief, from left to right: Interim Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, Inspector Eddie Frizell of the Minneapolis Police Department and Assistant Chief Ely Reyes of the Austin Police Department. (Q13 News photo)

SEATTLE — After a week of surprise twists and turns that landed a hometown favorite back in the running, the three finalists for Seattle police chief will make their final pitch to Mayor Jenny Durkan on Friday.

Before their interview at City Hall, they each sat down with Q13 News Correspondent Brandi Kruse to discuss their vision for the future of the Seattle Police Department.

‘Seattle is an excellent fit for me’

Inspector Eddie Frizell of the Minneapolis Police Department is among two outsiders hoping to become Seattle’s next police chief. A 26-year veteran of MNPD, Frizell also serves as a colonel with the Minnesota Army National Guard.

“It’s not a matter of where you’re at or whether you’re the ‘hometown favorite’ or any of those types of things that they say. It’s about being a leader,” he said. “You can talk about reforms at the top, but if you don’t have the ability to get that to permeate down to boots on the ground and those officers that are responding to that 911 call at 2 in the morning, you’re just an academic.”

'I see things from a different perspective'

Assistant Chief Ely Reyes of the Austin Police Department knows a thing or two about the politics of policing – a skill that would come in handy if he’s named Seattle’s next police chief.

Reyes said he enters Friday’s interview with Mayor Durkan undeterred by reports that Interim Chief Carmen Best is the front runner.

“I think that as an outsider, I see things from a different perspective," he said. "A lot of the times when you’re inside an organization it’s all you know. You don’t know anything different so the culture and the things that are going on just seem business as usual and the norm. Having a fresh perspective to bring with me and new ideas, I think that's helpful."

‘I am the one for this job’

Many believe the job is Interim Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best’s to lose.

After being excluded from the final three, Best got a second chance when former Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay dropped out. A 26-year veteran of SPD, Best has the support of many community members and the union that represents the department’s rank and file officers.

“I have the credentials. I have the resume. I have the heart," she said. "I don’t have the hometown girl advantage. I have the qualifications advantage. I am the one for this job. I hope the citizens and the mayor and others will see that and make me the permanent police chief.”