Edmonds City Council agenda revised to include police chief confirmation Dec. 8

Sherman Pruitt

The Edmonds City Council, which was originally scheduled Dec. 15 to consider Mayor Mike Nelson’s appointment of Sherman Pruitt as the next Edmonds police chief, will now take up the matter Tuesday, Dec. 8.

That’s according to the revised agenda that was released just before 7 p.m. Monday night.

Under the terms of his appointment, Pruitt’s employment would begin Dec. 28, 2o20. He would be paid an annual salary of $156,417, plus benefits.

Nelson announced Dec. 3 he had selected Pruitt, the current Sauk-Suiattle Tribal Police Chief, over Acting Police Chief Jim Lawless, who started in the Edmonds Police Department in 1995 and has served as an assistant chief since 2008. Lawless was appointed acting chief after long-time Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan retired a year ago, and in April Nelson issued a news release stating that Lawless was his choice for permanent chief.

However, the city council insisted that Nelson follow the rules for executive-level city appointments and conduct a search process for three applicants. When three suitable applicants could not be found, the council agreed to consider two finalists: Pruitt and Lawless.

Pruitt is a former U.S. Marine who served tours in Somalia and Iraq, then spent eight more years in the National Guard. He started his police career on the Tulalip Tribal force, where he served as a patrol officer, detective and SWAT team sergeant, and was assigned to command of the patrol, corrections, SWAT and investigations units. Pruitt has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and is a graduate of both the Chief of Police Command Executive Academy and the Criminal Justice Executive Leadership Management Training.


  1. I commend Pruitt for his military service. I believe a correction is in order – Mr. Pruitt got his start at SPD. He has ample experience in tribal law enforcement. However, his experience in municipal law does not measure up to Mr. Lawless.

    In addition, the city council president admitted this is a hire based on race – which is a violation of employment law. An employer may not base hiring decisions on stereotypes and assumptions about a person’s race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

    1. Today of all days, December 7, I also need to thank Mr. Pruitt for his service and dedication to our country, and his mission of law and order.

  2. As of this evening, the council president, Adrienne Monillas-Fraley has changed the vote for chief of police to TOMORROW, Dec 8th instead of the 15th as was stated before. She has gone on record on King 5 TV that this was a decision based on race. I don’t know how to stop this, but she is putting us in a terrible position. Not only calling the City of Edmonds citizens racist on TV, but she knows that this is not in the best interest of the citizens of Edmonds. Please let the city council know that they need to vet this out and not make a decision tomorrow.

  3. Classic political move. We are now all racists, so let’s move the vote up a week to shut up the folks who do not agree that the qualifications in any way matter when it comes to the safety of our families in Edmonds. I wish I could express more anger, but I think I have said enough.

    I support Monillas-Fraley on her attempts to reduce the bowl centric nature of prior Councils, but in this case, it reeks of a bait and switch move to force through, with as little attention, a vote and confirmation without hearing from the public. If this is what we can expect from Council and the Mayor in the future, we get what we asked for through the election process. We can change that in the next election cycle.

    I encourage everyone to attend, and to make sure that they voice their thoughts for or against the decision.

    1. So for the record about Edmonds, I’m not racist at all and I deplore it. And of all the times I’ve experienced racism rarely has it been in Edmonds and usually in Oregon and Utah and there’s no comparison. So I guess that if you only go to Edmonds, then maybe you would think that Edmonds is racist sometimes. Sure but grow up Ms. Monillas, it’s all around and you don’t have to throw dung on Edmonds and me just to make your point. It’s pretty good and inclusive here.

  4. What are Mayor Nelson and Council President Adrienne Monillas-Fraley afraid of? That the truth may come out about Mr. Pruitt’s lack of qualification for this position? What an outrageous act of blatant disregard of the public and open process. Any Council person who allows this vote to occur should should be ashamed of allowing this naked power play. The Council should have time to do a complete background investigation into Mr. Pruitt as required by law. We have waited seven months for the Mayor’s selection. Why does one or two more weeks matter? Something very foul is going on here. A sad day for Edmonds.

    1. What is happening?? Why has the meeting been changed from 12/15 to TOMORROW, 12/8??? Why would Adrienne change the meeting? We the citizens are requesting that the council deliberate and vet each candidate. This makes NO sense to me…. what is being “hidden”? We want transparency and not hidden agendas! Come on Edmonds we are better than these small town politics!

      1. I am completely shocked. I, along with most of the residents of Edmonds as well, were under the impression the CHIEF Lawless was already named as Al Compaan’s permanent replacement. I worked with and for Mr. Lawless for many years and you cannot ask for a more qualified Chief. His credentials are impeccable. He has worked for EPD for decades and has done nothing but further his knowledge base. He has a masters degree as well as the renound training from the FBI training at Quantico. He has so many more honors and training courses than I can list here. He is so widely respected amongst his peers and the citizens of our fine city I just can’t wrap my head around this betrayal of a man who has given his all to the city. He has diversified the ranks like no other chief and is a man of great integrity and honor. Spend 5 minutes with him and you will see the heart and strength of a man who will lead with dignity, humility and honor. If you can attend this farce of a meeting please do and speak your mind. Jim Lawless is the right man for this job and it is a disgrace what they are doing. I thought we had a strong Mayor but it is clear to me now ( and will be during re-election ) that I was mistaken as he lacks the courage of his convictions and his words are just that. I implore the Mayor and the Council to do the right thing for the citizens and the department.

  5. So now it has been confirmed why Mr. Pruitt has been selected by Mayor Nelson. Mr. Lawless is clearly the better qualified candidate, but he’s the wrong color. To make a selection for that reason is illegal, as stated by Mike above.
    It is time to bring this ever-increasing mess to an abrupt end. I have emailed council members asking them to vote tomorrow against the hiring of Mr. Pruitt and to also vote to confirm Mr. Lawless as our permanent police chief. I strongly urge other citizens to contact council members with the same message.

  6. I suspect Mr. Pruitt will do the right thing, and withdraw, now that he knows this is not based on qualifications.

    Those of us who serve and served in uniform know our guiding principles. Mr. Pruitt, as a Marine, certainly knows his: “Honor” This is the bedrock of our character. It is the quality that empowers Marines to exemplify the ultimate in ethical and moral behavior: to never lie, cheat, or steal; to abide by an uncompromising code of integrity; to respect human dignity; and to have respect and concern for each other.”

    To not withdraw at this point would be unbecoming and dishonorable.

    1. Mr. Schindler – how inappropriately judgmental of you to question the honor and integrity of Mr. Pruitt as a Marine in this process. Character disparaging is unbecoming without any evidence to substantiate your accusations.

      1. There is an honor code, of which he took an oath. I suspect Mr. Pruitt is honorable. And I’m sure his actions will display such. Imagine how one must feel to know they are considered not by their merits but rather the color of their skin? Is this not what we all have been fighting for? To be judged by the content of our character (and experience), and not the color of our skin?

        Direct your outrage and concern at your council president who revealed motive and made our city vulnerable to lawsuits.

    2. To make this comment is unbecoming and dishonorable. You have every right to criticize Mayor Nelson’s decision but how much gall do you have to have to suggest that Pruitt withdraw his name from consideration out of some sense of “honor” as you define it. Who on earth do you think you are? I thank you for your service but that doesn’t give you the right to arbitrate what constitutes honorable behavior for others.

  7. Reverse discrimination. And mayor Nelson doesn’t even show any leadership to make a statement. Sad day for Edmonds. And shame on you, Frayley-Monillas. Falsely claiming Edmonds is racist on tv. May this be your last stint as councilwoman. You’re an embarrassment.

    1. I don’t care race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Apparently, if they are 20% qualified, then they will obviously be the best candidate. It will help Mayor Nelson with his “unique perspective” and Council President Adrienne Monillas-Fraley stamp out the racism that is a blight over Edmonds.

      I, for one, will be looking for some new folks to fill some seats, but unlike the two folks mentioned above, I will select the best qualified for the job.

    2. You have my vote Darrol. Consider me the token “Liberal” on your campaign committee if you run. I’ve consistently supported the Mayor and Council President AFM as being responsible dedicated people ; only interested in what is good for all of Edmonds, even when I disagreed with them. The breaking point is someone going on local T.V. and making stupid comments, generalizing that Edmonds is a racist town.

      Are there some racists in Edmonds? You bet; they are everywhere. Does that make Edmonds racist? I say Hell no!

      When someone calls me a racist, I’m done trying to help them in any way, much less ever vote for them again. Changing the decision date to head off the coming storm, is about the most blatant act of pure politics I’ve ever seen. Second only, perhaps, to telling someone they have a job they deserve and then yanking it out from under them. I’ve been wrong; that makes me angry; and you can take that for whatever it is worth in terms of any future support on issues in town. This town is broken and you are the one’s who broke it.

  8. No thanks, Mr. Schindler. You can criticize the Council all you want, that’s fine and that’s your right. Suggesting Mr. Pruitt withdraw from consideration on the basis of some abstract and privileged notion of “honor” is shameful. Maybe reflect on your own words and reserve your criticism for the Council.

    1. I failed to explain the culture and code from which Mr. Pruitt and I both come from – and I own this. As a result, my statement could certainly be interpreted as harsh and unwarranted. For the record, Mr. Pruitt has accomplished something that 93% of living Americans have not: service to this country in military uniform. He willfully gave up his constitutional rights and subjected himself to the USMJ and a standard and code that is unforgiving and relentless. He did so honorably and for this reason, I believe him to be one of America’s Greatest Assets.

      Mr. Pruitt and Mr. Lawless are participating in a process that has failed them both. The process has failed in thoroughly vetting the candidates (not all references have been checked), in objectively weighing qualifications (the experience is revealed but the scoring mechanism is not transparent), and in selecting a candidate based on race (which violates federal hiring laws).

      It is for this reason I made my statement. Because I believe Mr. Pruitt to be honorable, he would recognize these shortcomings of the process and stay true to the code and withdraw. To continue participating in a process that lacks integrity would be uncharacteristic and unbefitting to a Marine (or anyone), thus “unbecoming;” and to continue to give the process credence does not bring honor to his selection or the city, thus “dishonorable.”

      Mr. Pruitt knows the damage that can occur to troop morale when a better qualified leader is replaced by one who has yet to achieve those qualifications and if it has been revealed by city leadership that the reason is in violation of federal law.

  9. Why were there only two candidates? Was the recruitment so poor nobody wanted the job? Actually, I would think that because they took so long to recruit and Chief Lawless was in place for so long, most would think that the City of Edmonds was just going through the motions and it would be a waste of time to apply. The process the candidates usually have to go through is long and arduous. Anyone with any experience, qualifications, and expertise would know this and seeing that Chief Lawless has been working there successfully, wouldn’t want to waste their time.

  10. I just watched thr king5 piece: Didn’t the African American police chief of Seattle just get forced out of her job by local Black lives matter activists? I also want to add that the experience of one racial minority is not the same as the experiences of another, even when it comes to experiencing racism. Most of Edmonds non white residents are Asian American, who experience racism very differently to African Americans.

    As a minority, I don’t have my feelings towards our police department swayed either way by the race of its chief. I care about its policies, and its conduct. I see no reason why appointing Assistant Chief Lawless would have any affect on addressing racism.

    1. Not that this matters, discrimination is discrimination in any case. It happens to all segments of our population, and from what I can see, it is higher statistically for persons of color. With that being said, every type of discrimination needs to be eliminated. Here are the Edmonds demographics:

      Edmonds is a city located in Washington. With a 2020 population of 43,821, it is the 27th largest city in Washington and the 902nd largest city in the United States. Edmonds is currently growing at a rate of 1.22% annually and its population has increased by 10.36% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 39,709 in 2010. Spanning over 10 miles, Edmonds has a population density of 4,915 people per square mile.

      The average household income in Edmonds is $115,428 with a poverty rate of 5.57%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $1,418 per month, and the median house value is $480,000. The median age in Edmonds is 46.3 years, 42.7 years for males, and 48.5 years for females. For every 100 females there are 95.4 males.

      Edmonds Demographics
      According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Edmonds was:

      White: 81.23%
      Asian: 7.91%
      Two or more races: 5.81%
      Other race: 2.85%
      Black or African American: 1.32%
      Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.58%
      Native American: 0.32%

      Given the high median income, and our propensity to be actively involved in social and economic causes, Edmonds is an example of stamping out inequality. We, as a town, support many causes, as seen by our dedication to BLM, LGBTQ communities, the Senior Citizens community, and other communities.

      We are open to dialogue, and we try things to make the situation better. The decision to hire Officer Pruitt will change little in those efforts and is political statement.

  11. I am not going to get into the honor – I believe both men are honorable for the service they have given. I again, propose that the Mayor and the Council President provide detailed explanations, not sound bites, to assert why they made this decision. So far, unique perspective and race are the two reasons. A one page letter, carefully worded in the Council package is not a reason. The answers given at the Highway 99 Town Hall are not a reason and the statement made on Seattle news are not a reason to select the least qualified candidate.

    I was pondering this last night. We all know that “Defund the Police” is a misnomer. It is merely a shifting of resources to more socially equitable and focused policing to underserved communities (and those are typically in lower income, racially diverse communities in some Cities, I do not think that is the case in Edmonds). Mayor Nelson has taken a positive step in hiring or getting in the budget I believe Counselor. Have the Mayor and Council thought about increasing the funding to a Community Service group of Officers that focus on the needs of those communities? I would believe that would assist both a push to add POC to the force, and to find candidates that are qualified to lead the Edmonds Police Force. Officer Pruitt would seem an excellent choice to lead a team of this size, and would be able to learn and experience managing at scale.

    I am done bitching about the choice, we all know now why it was made, but there have to be more creative solutions to keep Officer Lawless and provide Officer Pruitt and opportunity to learn and grow in the Edmonds Police force.

  12. I rarely get involved in local politics. I do not want the jobs that Council or the Mayor have signed up for. This is one where I am going to get involved. No matter who they select, I am going to support them.

    I would again ask, that everyone log into the meeting, sign up for the comment section and let their voices be heard – for or against.

    The Democratic process works. Our last President put forth and confirmed unqualified candidates, and we see where that got us in many cases. Let’s hope that we have learned from those poor choices, and do not mimic those choices simply to make a statement.

  13. One other comment. I am giving Mayor Nelson hell on this specific item. As much as I am raking him through the coals on this issue (much like I did to Council and the Mayor on the Five Corners Upgrades and being fiscally responsible), I do want to say that I applaud the decision to add body cams to the force. In my opinion, this is not a matter of trust, it does two things. It insures the low risk (proven out by statistics in Edmonds) that there is more transparency in policing, and it is an excellent source of training for our officers. It can be used to focus on areas where there might be a need for sensitivity and educate officers when the need arises (or leverage the footage to applaud an officer for their actions).

    Mayor Nelson and I had the chance to meet in person at a Christmas party last year, and albeit, he is aware that I did not vote for him, and am unlikely to vote for him in the next election. The positive aspect I can say (and I am willing to say) is that he was mindful and respectful of my opinion, and was not argumentative about his positions on items. We found common ground on 90% of what we both want for Edmonds (and this has been proven by some of his decisions that he has put in front of Council).

    I am still going to drag him through hell on this issue, and I am still going to oppose Officer Pruitt as our Police Chief until Council makes it so. These judgements make me question his ability to make the decisions based in fact, but hell, I might as well accentuate some of the positives about our Mayor.

  14. I watched the King-5 story when broadcast and was shocked by Adrienne’s comments about Edmonds being racist. How embarrassing for our citizens to be so labeled. I won’t expect an apology since she sincerely means it. I know how she would view me should I ever appear before her. Other council members should censure her in public. She’s wielding too much power.

  15. I hope this King-5 story will be played back during the next election cycle in Edmonds. A City Council member, making a statement that this community and it’s residents are “Racists” is outrageous…wrong but never in doubt. For a city leader to call out this community as “Racist” is not only untrue but insulting and Yes an attempt to move forward with her agenda by cancelling out the voice of the people. People tend to oversimplify when they have no reasonable or logical argument. I hope the other Council members do not support this political move.

  16. And what will be the ongoing effects of that remark? Edmonds is racist, so more tourists ( post pandemic) family who would rather not move to Edmonds based on the Council President’s remarks. Shopping in other places? It is a slippery slope for someone committed to our businesses and their survival. That it isn’t true is not what will be remembered. And poor Mr. Pruitt, what an awful position the Mayor and Ms Monillas have put him in. Why? He should be in a position that supports him and his work, and where, as with anyone one in public service, he is valued ( and he is accomplished) as a person and set up to succeed. What a mess.

  17. What an important and influential decision. Why are the Mayor and Council President working so hard to make this solely about race and attacking their city?

    Well, I certainly don’t blame what will likely be our new Chief Pruitt for this. In the last interview Pruitt was nervous and unsure while Chief Lawless sailed through every question with ease. When you looked at every aspect of the decision, Chief Lawless was miles ahead of the competition.

    Chief Lawless has been doing an excellent job, he has personal connections to the officers here, and has done a tremendous job in communicating with the City. To disregard and throw all of that away would require a thorough explanation, and a plan to replace what will be lost. Instead they just stated that this is their decision, and anyone who questions it, or asks for more information is racist.

    What a disrespectful and disgraceful failure of leadership.

    1. Agreed, Chief Pruitt should be commended for his grace during all of this. I am sure there is a desire to want to issue a statement, at least I would have a desire, but he has taken the high road (both candidates have).

      The silence from the Mayor and Council President other than the snippets we have been given are something of a question to me.

      1. Why can’t this be solved by Sherman Pruitt being offered Asst Chief of Police, after further consideration, right now? It’s a definite step up in stature, pay, will give Mr. Pruitt excellent experience and will improve his resumé. It’s a win-win, no?

  18. No, it is not a win-win because there is already a better qualified candidate acting in that possibly open position. And it will only be an open position if Jim Lawless is confirmed by the city council.

  19. How many of the people commenting on here have actually spoken to people who have had to interact with Mr. Lawless when he had the upper hand. Is it possible that he has created an image for himself which manipulates law abiding citizens into believing something about him which may be false? It is suspicious how all these comments seem to place him on a pedestal.
    The mayor does not have the power to dictate who the chief will be so he can’t be manipulated by any candidate. The mayor was mistaken when he attempted to overpower the council and needs to own that behavior. This safeguard to include other candidates was put in place by the citizens to prevent what the mayor tried to do.
    Perhaps Lawless in fact IS racist? Trust the process and the truth will be exposed.
    I’m a law abiding citizen and he wouldn’t even speak with me on the phone. I’ve seen his true colors and I’m not talking about the color of his skin.

  20. After Mayor Nelson made his choice as to Chief Pruitt to be our next Chief of Police I noted a number of letter writers called upon him to explain why, in his opinion, Chief Pruitt was the better choice for our city. I no longer have to wait upon that explanation as our Council President on local television made it clear that the selection has been made because I and my fellow Edmonds citizens have a racial problem that, at least in part, this selection will serve to compensate for.
    I, and I am sure, the overwhelming majority of Edmonds citizens find this highly insulting and absolutely untrue. Don’t subscribe to us the very few actually identified racism actions of children or child-like minds over this past year. It is clear to me that the confirmation vote this evening was accelerated as the initial reaction to the selection of Chief Pruitt, based only on a racial qualification, was so negative that it is an effort to “railroad” it thru before more citizens find out what is happening and overwhelm you with criticism.
    Initially I was dumfounded that our Mayor would make, and announce, such a poor comparative selection without having prior identified a majority of Council Members who agree with him. After watching our Council President on TV I am now afraid he knew exactly what he was doing and has you, and the decision “in the bag”.
    Don’t be pushed into this poor decision but put in place permanently the more qualified candidate who actually has been and is doing a fine job for us. Thank you

  21. The following is an e-mail I sent to the Edmonds City Council this morning regarding the King 5 interview. “This e-mail is directed specifically to Council President Fraley-Monillas. What a disgrace you are to our city. I was outraged and offended by your remarks during the interview that Edmonds is a ‘racist city’. How dare you include me in that statement! I have lived in the Edmonds bowl for many years and do not believe there is systemic racism in Edmonds. I am sure, unfortunately – as with any city – there are incidents, but her rhetoric only incites those who are. By her very statements she is suggesting that skin color should play a greater role than experience or qualifications for the position of police chief. When selection time comes I am hopeful the Council will do the right thing and select Acting Police Chief Jim Lawless.”

  22. Wow. What happened to having Edmonds best interest in mind in the running of our town of 40,000ish citizens, Mayor Nelson? The applicant for police chief you have put forth has a less stellar resume on all fronts!!
    Is this really in our towns best interest? Seriously? Shame on you for pandering to Seattle politics. Shame on the council president AFM for changing the date of the hearing and trying to rush this poor decision through, and also for her comments in the news. Is this about race? Or the best person for the job??? As a minority myself, I am offended that race is a consideration before qualifications and experience. I hope that all citizens of Edmonds are paying attention when it is time to vote in the next local election!

  23. I stand in awe at the mayor and council tonight not to even consider the majority of the will of the people. I hope you four are on the bubble for re-election.

  24. I want to ask you this; “What the HECK is going on at the City Of Edmonds?” I was raised in Edmonds, and actually worked for the city in the 1990’s during and after college. I was a clerk in the Municipal Court when acting Police Chief Lawless was hired on as an officer. The mayor and most of the city council have gone rogue, and frankly, they are out of order for not following due process in the hiring of the new police chief here. My gosh, it took you seven long months to even get to this point, so why rush into things now? What have you got to hide that can’t wait another week? And, what is with our City Council President, Adrienne Monillas-Fraley going on the news and calling the citizens she represents racists? If you truly feel this way Adrienne, why don’t you find a community to reside in that fits your opinion a little better? To group the whole city of 43,000+ citizens into one category frankly makes you appear to be a bit of a racists, and very out of touch with the city in its entirety. Please get your acts together here members of our council, and Mr. Mayor. Stop showing your own biases and favoritism. Do the job you were elected to do for all of your constituents, and quit making our beautiful and very loved City of Edmonds a dang dog and pony show! As for the current matter which is confirming our new police chief, I am not saying that Sherman Pruitt doesn’t have qualifications to be a chief, but I am saying that Jim Lawless clearly has more qualifications, and has proven he is the right man to be Chief of Edmonds, the city I cherish!

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