Seattle's top cop could be new drug czar

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by By CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 24 at 12:34 PM

Video: Seattle's police chief may become next drug czar

SEATTLE - Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske is in Washington, D.C. Tuesday night, and is expected to be formally nominated to Head the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a position commonly referred to as "The Drug Czar."

Kerlikowske, reached by phone tonight, would not confirm that's the reason he was in the Nation's Capitol, saying "I can't say anything until tomorrow."

The 59-year-old Kerlikowske has been Seattle's Top Cop since 2000, and came to Seattle after serving in the Justice Department. He's been praised during his service for his community outreach, and for his response to complaints of unfair and harsh police treatment in minority communities.

He's also had his critics, for his department's handling of the Mardi Gras riots, and recent rise in gang activity.

Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata praised Kerlikowske, saying he's allowed Seattle to "make some real progressive decisions."

The search will probably now begin in earnest for an Interim Chief. Licata believes there are several internal candidates capable of taking over now.

Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer, and Assistant Chief Nick Metz both claimed tonight that they had not spoken to anyone about assuming the interim role. Several Seattle City Hall sources believe Mayor Greg Nickels would not name a permanent chief until late this year or after the election.

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