February 12th, 2009 03:29 PM
Big Brother Elevates Anti-RKBA Police Chief
Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske has been appointed to a law enforcement post within the Obama administration, which would return him to Washington, D.C., after almost a decade as Seattle's top cop, sources said Tuesday.
An administrator in the Seattle Police Department said Kerlikowske notified executive staff that he would be appointed director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a Cabinet-level post often referred to as the White House "drug czar."
The position oversees an agency that sets the nation's drug-control strategy. Kerlikowske informed his command staff during a meeting late last week, the source said.
"I think he knows the right things to do for communities, cops, prosecutors and the defense bar. I think he is well qualified for this," the source said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Kerlikowske, 59, declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday night.
His nomination would be subject to Senate confirmation.
In December, Kerlikowske told the Seattle P-I he likely was under consideration for a high-level post in the new administration but declined to be more specific. He said he would be interested in something that would enable him to influence policy but would hesitate to leave Seattle for a purely bureaucratic position.
"There are a lot of positions where you're the deputy assistant director of something. At my age, at this point in my career, I'd want something where you feel like you could make a real impact," he said at the time.
The source said that an interim chief likely would be appointed while the city searches for a permanent replacement, a process that could be months away.
Kerlikowske came to Seattle in 2000 after serving as deputy director in the Justice Department, overseeing the Community Oriented Policing Services grant program. A military veteran with 36 years in law enforcement, he spent four years as Buffalo's police commissioner after starting his career in Florida.
Rumors have persisted that Kerlikowske, a progressive police chief with connections in Washington, D.C., would likely be chosen for a post in a Democratic administration.
As president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, he frequently speaks out on issues such as gun control and has testified before Congress several times.
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels' spokesman declined to comment Tuesday. Sgt. Rich O'Neill, head of the Seattle Police Officers' Guild, said nothing official had been reported to the rank and file.
"We haven't heard a thing. Nothing has changed. It's all rumors," he said.
Hired by Mayor Paul Schell to replace Norm Stamper, Kerlikowske stepped into a department still reeling from the WTO protests in 1999 as the agency was becoming one of the first departments in the country to adopt civilian oversight in police accountability.
He leaves Seattle with the city's crime rate at a historical 40-year low, despite resurgences in youth and gang violence, especially in the city's South End. Kerlikowske has maintained a national profile, with his interests especially focused on issues such as gun control, immigration and electronic data mining of private records.
Last year, he sat on a panel of researchers who found that mining private citizens' bank, telephone and other electronic records in counterterrorism investigations produced few results while posing serious risks to civil liberties.
He's also testified before Congress on the federal assault weapons ban and on investing in child welfare to prevent children from turning to crime.
Kerlikowske, a proponent of community-oriented policing, is credited with pushing for the use of less-lethal weapons, such as Taser stun guns, and improving police relationships with minority communities. In 2002, he worked with business leaders to launch the Seattle Police Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money for police equipment and programs.
Almost since his first year in Seattle, Kerlikowske has worked amid rumors that he had his sights on returning to the federal government, especially after a rocky start to his tenure. Kerlikowske, however, has always reiterated his commitment and adoration for Seattle, pointing out that his mother and mother-in-law both recently moved to the Pacific Northwest.
In his second year, he survived a no-confidence vote by members of the police guild after he disciplined an officer in a controversial jaywalking incident, and faced intense criticism over his decision to draw back police officers during the 2001 Mardi Gras riots in which a man was killed.
In 2007, he came under fire from social justice groups who accused him of whitewashing an investigation into a controversial drug arrest downtown. The controversy prompted changes to the police oversight system as recommended by a blue-ribbon panel.
And it continues..... We have got to be sure that we are as vocal as possible. It looks like Obama has appointed another Anti-gun person.
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