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Carmen Best    

Retired Chief of Police Seattle

Carmen Best is an American law enforcement officer who served as the chief of police of the Seattle Police Department from 2018 to 2020. She was the first black woman to lead Seattle's police force. She announced her resignation in August 2020 following budget cuts, and officially left office on September 2, 2020.

Best was born in Tacoma, Washington and attended Lincoln High School. She earned a certificate in police management from the University of Washington and Master of Science degree in criminal justice from Northeastern University. She completed training programs at the FBI National Executive Institute, FBI National Academy, Criminal Justice Executive Leadership Academy, and Major Cities Chiefs Association Police Executive Leadership Institute.

She was hired by the Seattle Police Department in 1992 and, prior to being appointed chief, had held the ranks of officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and deputy chief. She took over as interim chief of police on January 1, 2018, replacing Kathleen O'Toole, and was later appointed permanent chief by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, effective from August 13, 2018. She became the first black woman to serve as Seattle's chief of police.

On August 10, 2020, after the Seattle City Council voted to downsize the department by about 100 officers, she resigned, stating that she could not in good conscience shrink and thereby reduce diversity in the department which she had just grown by 110 officers in 2019, (with 40% of those new hires being persons of color) noting that under police union rules, the last hired would be the first to be laid off, disproportionately affecting officers of color. Best was replaced by Assistant Chief Adrian Z. Diaz in an interim capacity.

On October 19, 2020, it was announced that Best would join KING-TV as law enforcement analyst.

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