CWU News

Central graduate confirmed as Seattle Police chief

Seattle Police chief and CWU alum Adrian Diaz

CWU alumnus Adrian Diaz was confirmed as the new chief of the Seattle Police Department earlier this month.

After serving as interim chief for the past two years, CWU alumnus Adrian Diaz shed his interim title and officially became the Seattle Police Department’s top cop last week. 

The 25-year department veteran, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Central in 2003, was confirmed January 3 and was installed January 12.

According to an article in The Seattle Times, Diaz was appointed to the permanent position in September by Mayor Bruce Harrell. The article said Harrell advocated for Diaz to fill the permanent seat since taking office last year, citing the chief’s “intangible” qualities, like his “chemistry” with other city leaders. 

Similarly, the City Council praised Diaz for his commitment to community policing and non-police public safety responses.

“His emphasis on community engagement resulted in community members writing, calling and showing up to testify in support of his nomination,” Councilmember Lisa Herbold said.

After joining SPD in 1997, Diaz was promoted to assistant police chief in 2017 and deputy police chief in July 2020, a month before becoming interim chief when former Chief Carmen Best abruptly retired.

The Times article noted that during Diaz’s time as interim chief, the department faced a mass exodus of officers, increased public scrutiny, and COVID-19-related challenges. But Diaz remains optimistic about the direction of the department, pointing to a 50% reduction in use of force since 2015, and increased intervention on fentanyl distribution and violent crime. 

“It is such an honor to serve in this capacity,” Diaz said at the January 3 council meeting. 

Media Contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,, 509-963-1518