Carmen Best, Retired Seattle Police Chief, worked for 28 years, beginning as an entry-level patrol officer and later becoming the first African American woman Chief of Police, managing approximately 2000 sworn and civilian employees before retiring in 2020.
Before her role as Chief of Police, Best served as Deputy Chief, overseeing the Patrol Operations, Investigations, Special Operations Bureaus, and the Community Outreach section. Among the many accomplishments as Chief of Police was her creation of the Collaborative Police Bureau, a segment of the SPD encouraging community partnerships and engagement. As Chief of Police, she and the SPD were the nation's immediate responders to implement first responder safety protocols and practices in response to COVID-19. Best has also facilitated record-breaking diversity hiring and recruitment within the department.
She is a member of the International Organization of Black Security Executives, ASIS International, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and the National Latino Police Officers Association (NLPOA). Best has lived in the Pacific Northwest her entire life, outside of her service in the United States Army. She is the mother of two adult daughters and enjoys hiking in her spare time. She became a first-time author in 2021.
Best has received numerous awards for her contributions to community engagement, public safety, gender equity, and diversity and inclusion. Her achievements include:
Leading Expert and Contributor
Best is a contributor to MSNBC, CNBC, and NBC news affiliates and is regularly requested as a subject matter expert and keynote speaker, both locally and nationally, on a variety of topics: public safety, leadership, reimagining policing, police reform, women in policing, and diversity and inclusion.