Edmonds mayor announces interim police chief appointment

Michelle Bennett, a veteran of the King County Sheriff’s Office, is the first woman to act as chief.

Michelle Bennett (City of Edmonds)

Michelle Bennett (City of Edmonds)

EDMONDS — Michelle Bennett, a veteran of the King County Sheriff’s Office, is the city’s interim police chief, Mayor Mike Nelson announced Wednesday.

Bennett, who has served as the chief of police for Maple Valley and Sammamish, is the first woman to lead the city’s police department. She’s replacing former acting Edmonds Chief Jim Lawless, who resigned from the post last week to take a job in Marysville.

As the interim chief, Bennett will lead the department for up to six months, or until the city concludes a nationwide search for a permanent chief, whichever comes first.

“Michelle Bennett will bring a stability to the City of Edmonds during this transition period,” Nelson said in a news release. “I am excited that Ms. Bennett has accepted the position of acting chief during a time when her knowledge, experience and insights will be of great value to the Edmonds Police Department.”

Bennett received a bachelor’s degree in law and justice, a master’s of science degree in organizational development and behavior, and a doctorate in education, with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction. She is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command and the FBI National Academy. She has also taught criminal justice since 1998 at Washington colleges, and at the School of Police Staff and Command for Northwestern University.

Lawless, who spent more than 25 years with the city of Edmonds, led the department for more than a year as the city fumbled an initial nationwide search for a permanent chief. He was passed over for the permanent post.

Last week, he announced he was leaving Edmonds to become an assistant chief of police in Marysville.

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