Crime - Sacto 911

Elk Grove police chief in running for Seattle job

Elk Grove Police Chief Robert Lehner is one of three finalists for the top job in Seattle.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s search committee announced Friday that the finalist list includes Lehner, Mesa, Ariz., police chief Frank Milstead and former Boston police commissioner Kathleen O'Toole.

Murray says he will announce his nominee to the Seattle City Council by mid-May, according to the Associated Press. Murray will interview the finalists.

The AP said the mayor’s handling of the police department is being scrutinized after he appointed interim chief Harry Bailey, who proceeded to reverse misconduct findings against seven officers.

The department also has a reform agreement with the Department of Justice after federal investigators in 2011 found that officers too often escalate situations unnecessarily, sometimes resulting in the use of force.

An Elk Grove police spokesman confirmed that Lehner has applied for the Seattle post. Lehner has more than 35 years of law enforcement experience.

He began his career in 1978 with the Tucson, Ariz., Police Department as an officer, rising to the rank of Assistant Chief. In 2004 he was named chief of the Eugene, Ore., police department.

In 2008, he was appointed to serve as the chief in Elk Grove. In addition to his law enforcement accomplishments, in his spare time Lehner is a certified Kansas City Barbecue Society judge for professional barbecue competitions in California, Arizona and Nevada.