Pierce Murphy helped restore the publics trust in the Boise Police Department after a rash of officer shootings in the late 1990s.
His work as Boises first ombudsman impressed Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn enough to nominate him for a similar position in the Emerald City.
We knew we needed a strong leader with experience in bringing the community and police together, McGinn said in a news release.
Pierce Murphy has decades of experience in finding common ground on difficult issues, and is recognized as a national expert on police accountability and reform.
Murphys arrival would come as the Seattle Police Department faces a court-overseen monitoring plan to address the use of force by officers.
The department has entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Justice Department that requires an overhaul of supervision, training and reporting of uses of force.
Murphy was one of eight finalists for the post.
McGinn says that Murphy can help implement a long-term plan to restore public trust in the police.
Murphy is scheduled to begin his new job as director of Seattles Office of Professional Accountability in June, according to the Seattle mayors office. His nomination requires City Council confirmation.
Its the same work in a much larger city with a different set of challenges, Murphy told the Statesman.
Former Boise Mayor Brent Coles appointed Murphy as community ombudsman in 1999. In a statement congratulating him on his new job, current Mayor Dave Bieter called Murphys tenure a striking success, resulting in greater public confidence in Boise police and a significant reduction in police conduct complaints.
Complaints to the Boise ombudsmans office have declined every year since 2006, according to the offices annual reports.
Im pleased with the outcome of the work, Murphy said. The police department, between 1999 when I began and now, has gotten much, much better, more responsive and proactive in addressing smaller problems and correcting them before they become larger problems.
Bieter hasnt decided how, when or whether to replace Murphy, spokesman Michael Zuzel said.
The mayor will work with the City Council on a plan for the ombudsmans office, Zuzel said.
All options are open. I dont think that theres any clear course at this point, Zuzel said. Pierce is our first and only ombudsman, and he leaves some pretty big shoes to fill.
The Associated Press contributed.
Sven Berg: 377-6275