Law-enforcment vet from Washington, D.C., to head Seattle police

SEATTLE - A 28-year law-enforcement veteran now working for the U.S. Justice Department is Mayor Paul Schell's choice for chief of Seattle's 1,261-member police department.

Gil Kerlikowske will be introduced at a Monday news conference.

''I'm very confident he is the best choice for the city,'' Schell said Saturday.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Kerlikowske's selection in Saturday additions. Schell confirmed the report in a KOMO-TV interview.

Kerlikowske will succeed Norm Stamper, who resigned after city leaders were criticized for the handling of last fall's World Trade Organization disturbances.

He was one of three finalists, along with Richard Williams, the police chief in Madison, Wis.; and William McManus, an assistant chief in the Washington, D.C., police department.

Kerlikowske, 50, has been a deputy director at the Justice Department for the past two years, overseeing Community Oriented Policing Services grants. This week, he said he was ready to get back to local police work, ''to see programs and policies actually affect people's lives.''

Before joining the federal government, Kerlikowske spent 4 years as police commissioner in Buffalo, N.Y., introducing technology, consolidating 14 precincts into five districts, and sending officers into neighborhoods to solve problems rather than simply arrest people.

He was criticized for frequent travel, but his contacts in Washington, D.C., and interest in innovative crime policies helped bring the city $7 million in federal grants.

When he left the city in 1998, violent crime was down 38 percent.


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