For Immediate Release: January 29, 2019
Contact: Jim Pugel (206) 919-5342

35-year law enforcement leader, former Police Chief, reform advocate and lifelong Seattle resident Jim Pugel to run for Seattle City Council

Launches with strong list of community endorsements reflecting decades of commitment to safe, welcoming communities, service to the vulnerable, and rights and protections for all

SEATTLE—Jim Pugel, former Seattle Police Chief and advocate for constitutional policing and drug policy reform, has announced that he will seek position 7 on the City Council. Pugel, a lifelong Seattle resident, UW graduate, father, grandfather, and recent cancer survivor, is making his first run for public office. District 7 includes the neighborhoods of Pioneer Square, Downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union, Queen Anne, Magnolia, and Interbay. Incumbent Sally Bagshaw has announced that she will not seek re- election.

“After decades of working to protect all the people of our diverse, dynamic city I am excited to bring hands-on expertise in public safety, human services, and protection of our rights and progressive values to the City Council,” said Pugel, a lifelong Democrat and longtime union member. “We are a city built upon a foundation of great neighborhoods that are welcoming and supportive of people from all walks of life. As we face an affordability crisis that is marginalizing too many of our neighbors, we have to make sure we grow and change in ways that reflect our commitment to equity and Seattle as a city for all.”

Pugel, one of four Pugel generations living in Seattle, was raised in a working-class home in South Seattle, one of eight children. After union jobs as a steelworker, Greyhound bus terminal worker, and a Rainier Brewing bottler, often while working his way through the University of Washington, Pugel pursued a 31-year career in the Seattle Police department.

“I’m proud of my roots in this city, and the role organized labor played in providing me the opportunity to get an education, start a family, and buy a home in Seattle,” said Pugel, who purchased his first home in Fremont in 1982. “Today, a union job and a police officer’s salary aren’t always enough to live in Seattle. We need council leadership committed to helping working families—our teachers, firefighters, nurses, and police—live and work in the same community. By investing in housing and economic mobility, we reduce commuter congestion, improve economic diversity, and build connectivity.”

Over a 35-year career, Pugel worked in all neighborhoods in the city on numerous police assignments and eventually served as Assistant and Interim Police Chief. In these latter roles, Pugel was recognized nationally as a leader in efforts to reform SPD and implement innovative criminal justice policies such as the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. LEAD is a community partnership to reduce and divert low level non-violent persons involved in drug arrests. Jim worked with others to implement LEAD in both the Seattle Police Department and King County Sheriff’s Office.

Jim has served on the Washington State Partnership Council for Juvenile Justice, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Session on Community Corrections, the Vera Institute of Justice in New York, has presented at the United Nations and the White House on drug policy reform and policing, and currently serves on the School’s Out Washington (SOWA) board of directors. “I believe that early childhood education and health care for all children is what makes tomorrow's communities healthier and safer,” said Pugel.

This past year Pugel was the lead law enforcement spokesperson for Initiative 940, adopted by voters statewide to provide de-escalation training and improve police accountability in officer-involved shootings.

“I’m proud of my career in law enforcement, and the partnerships we built to address inequities in criminal justice and other needed reforms, and rebuild critical trust with the people we serve,” said Pugel. “Clearly there is still a long way to go in ensuring constitutional policing and maintaining sustained compliance with the federal monitor here in Seattle. I’ll be a needed voice on City Council for both constitutional policing and neighborhood health and safety. Good policing is about serving our city while protecting our rights, property, and peace of mind.”

Pugel enters the race with the broadest support of any announced candidate for position 7, including leaders in police reform, human services, civil rights, and community safety. These early endorsers include: King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht, longtime County Council member and civil rights leader Larry Gossett; criminal defense and police reform advocate Lisa Daugaard; human services leaders Dan Malone and Melinda Giovengo; child welfare advocate and retired State Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge; gun responsibility leader Renee Hopkins; and I-502 marijuana legalization leader and I-940 executive board member Alison Holcomb.

“Jim knows that to make progress on complex problems it takes collaboration from people of various perspectives. He has done this on homelessness by bringing service providers together with law enforcement for dialogue, and by supporting new strategies that have been proven to work,” said Dan Malone, Director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center*.

“I've worked with Jim Pugel for nearly two decades, and have seen firsthand his commitment to strong, safe communities. For Jim, this means reducing violence and implementing reforms that both de- escalate conflict and remove deadly weapons from our streets. Jim is a common-sense and progressive voice for public safety in every Seattle neighborhood. We need his experience and perspective on City Council" said Renee Hopkins, CEO for the Alliance for Gun Responsibility* and former Executive Director of the Seattle Police Foundation*.

“Jim is nationally and internationally known as an architect of police diversion to high quality public health interventions, reducing the flow of human beings into cells and courtrooms while actually improving public safety and public order. He's on the cutting edge of public policy on issues of justice and crime reduction, and we're incredibly lucky that he's willing to help Seattle take these evidence-based approaches to scale,” said Lisa Daugaard, a prominent criminal defense and police reform leader.

“I am very honored with their early support; it’s real validation of the work I have done to help make Seattle more progressive, healthy, safe, and caring,” said Pugel. “I look forward to knocking on doors throughout the District in the coming months to listen to neighbors about their priorities and bring their perspectives to a City Council in need of real experience, a proven track record of results, and genuine commitment to the people of Seattle.”

Pugel, age 59, lives on Queen Anne with his wife and golden retriever Peppercorn. His three grown children, all graduates of Seattle Public Schools, live in the city as well. In 2017 Pugel fought non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma while being treated at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. He will participate in Seattle’s Democracy Voucher program and will not be accepting corporate contributions to his campaign.

Learn more at

*For identification purposes only.



Paid for by Friends of Jim
PO Box 20792, Seattle, WA 98102