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Former Seattle Police Chief John Diaz to oversee detention at King County


King County Executive
Dow Constantine

Former Seattle Police Chief John Diaz to oversee detention at King County


King County Executive Dow Constantine announced that former Seattle Police Chief John Diaz has been retained to lead the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention as the department transitions to a new director.


Bringing in a leader with strong management skills, a background in law enforcement and community policing, and more than three decades of public service, Executive Constantine named John Diaz as interim director of the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention.

Diaz was Seattle police chief from 2010-2013. He began his career at the Seattle Police Department as a patrol officer in 1980 and held many leadership positions before being named Chief of Police.  Diaz was Deputy Chief of Administration, then Deputy Chief of Operations, for nearly ten years, where he oversaw administration of the department, including management of 1,900 employees and a $250 million dollar budget.

At different times in his tenure, Diaz was the lead in the Joint Labor Management Committee with the Seattle Police Officers Guild and represented the Department on labor negotiations. He worked on helping to achieve agreements on grievances and resolutions with the 8 different labor unions that represent members of the Seattle Police Department.

After launching two national searches, King County was not successful in hiring a permanent DAJD director. Diaz will assist in the ongoing recruitment process.

Diaz will focus on several areas:

  • Reducing the use of restrictive housing for all detention populations and implementing new policies and procedures. On April 19, King County transmitted the latest quarterly progress report to Columbia Legal Services, which also documents ongoing policy and practice reforms.
  • Coordinating the Road Map to Zero Youth Detention and continued transition of programming at the Youth Services Center to Public Health – Seattle & King County. A new data dashboard highlights progress as well as challenges.
  • Resolving operating and labor challenges including the use of mandatory overtime at detention facilities. DAJD staff as well as a team from the Department of Human Resources support recruitment efforts and processing applications.
  • Advising the County’s leadership team on criminal justice matters.


Alex Fryer, Executive’s Office, 206-477-7966

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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