SEATTLE - Aug. 12 marks two years since Adrian Diaz took over as interim chief of the Seattle Police Department.
While he’s officially applied for the permanent role, per the city’s charter, there are specific requirements when it comes to naming a permanent chief.
FOX 13 anchor Jamie Tompkins took a unique "ride along" with Diaz to better understand the goals and challenges the department faces, his message to officers and why he wants to continue to lead SPD.
When he first took over the position after former chief Carmen Best retired, he said his first order of business was to rein in policies and training when it comes to managing large crowds.
Diaz stepped into the position on the heels of racial protests across the country and the dismantling of CHOP. The Seattle Police Department was in the national spotlight for its handling of CHOP and protesters in the streets.
"You know we have not used a blast ball since September 26th of 2020. And people would think, ‘gosh, we saw so many different things going on in the city.’ Two years ago, it was a hard time. We were in the midst of riots every single day. We also saw homicides go up. We saw shootings in our community go up. We saw impacts of just not being able to respond to all the calls that were coming in. And I need to rebuild this department back up to where it needs to be," Diaz said.
He said recruitment is his greatest challenge.
"Our officers are working, sometimes two shifts, augmenting shifts, always filling in for a variety of different events from Torch Light, to Pride, to 4th of July. And now, we’re coming into football season and all of these events require personnel from us to make sure these areas are safe. And officers also need time off and if they are not getting that time off it affects their wellness."
Looking ahead to the future of the department, Diaz said:
"I want people to know, as I lead this department, that we are in good hands. When the timing is right I will present my best foot forward, but I feel like I’ve been in the job interview for the last two years. And honestly, I feel like I have proven myself," Diaz said.
Watch the video above to see the full interview.