Interim Seattle Police Chief says he's the man for permanent job

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by LINDA BYRON / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 26 at 7:37 PM

Jim Pugel has been running the Seattle Police Department as interim chief since his predecessor retired in May, and he hopes to land the job permanently.  

“I've been here 30 years. I know what needs to be done I have a good relationship with the monitoring team, I believe I have a good relationship with the community as well as with the officers who work for me,” he said.

But the federal monitor overseeing changes demanded by the Department of Justice has also complained of resistance by some commanders and officers, raising questions about whether it's time to bring in an outsider to run SPD.

Pugel said even as an insider he can be tough enough to implement the necessary reforms.

Then there's the issue of unsavory Seattle.  Just a few months ago, the Downtown Seattle Association sent the city and police department a blistering letter saying there is too much crime and not enough enforcement in the heart of the city.

“We detailed a number of incidents, and these were ranging from violent crimes to continued lower level offenses, and we thought the total package was simply too much,” said James Sido, Downtown Seattle Assoc.

Since then more officers have been dispatched downtown, but questions linger over whether some officers are holding back, either to spite the Department of Justice or because it's unclear what's expected of them.

When asked if there has been "de-policing" going on, Pugel responded “No.” He says he has the stats to prove that officers are not holding back.  He says  dispatched calls are up 5 percent this year over 2012, but "on views" are up 15 percent.  An "on view" is when an officer sees a crime or suspicious activity and investigates, without being sent to do so.

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