Seattle Police Chief John Diaz steps down amid focus on excessive force by officers

Seattle Police Chief John Diaz retired on Monday, April 8, 2013.
AP/, Joshua Trujillo

(CBS/AP) SEATTLE - Seattle Police Chief John Diaz retired Monday as his department faces a court order to address issues involving the use of excessive force by officers.

The disclosure came Monday after difficult negotiations led the Police Department to enter a court agreement with the federal Justice Department last summer to address concerns that officers were too quick to use force.

Diaz has been criticized for his leadership style.

City Councilman Tim Burgess, who is running for mayor, said Diaz was too slow to adopt new strategies for preventing crime and to embrace the changes sought by the federal agency.

Burgess had said he would fire Diaz if elected.

Diaz, a 33-year veteran and the department's first minority chief, rose through the ranks from a patrol officer and was sworn into office as police chief by Mayor Mike McGinn on August 16, 2009, according to CBS affiliate KIRO.

Last month, a comprehensive package of new reform initiatives, called SPD 20/20: A Vision for the Future, was announced by McGinn and Diaz. The SPD 20/20 team is made up of more than 30 Seattle Police Department leaders who will oversee the implementation of 20 new reform initiatives over the next 20 months, the station reports.