Carmen Best serves as the Director of Global Security Risk Operations at Microsoft, where she leads a team responsible for several key areas including real-time monitoring, detection and response to global physical security grids, minimizing security risks at an enterprise level, specialized security for high-value assets, intelligence capabilities for anticipating global insecurity and potential threats to senior executives. Her team supports event risk management, and travel safety oversight as well as overseeing crisis management, enterprise risk threat, and the Virtual Security Operations Center.
Prior to Microsoft, Carmen Best served as the Chief of Police of the Seattle Police Department where she worked for 28 years, beginning as an entry-level patrol officer, and later becoming the first African American woman Chief of Police, managing approximately 2000 sworn and civilian employees before retiring in 2020. Prior to becoming Chief of Police, she served as Deputy Chief, overseeing the Patrol Operations, Investigations, and Special Operations Bureaus, as well as the Community Outreach section. Among her many accomplishments as Chief of Police was her creation of the Collaborative Police Bureau, a segment of the SPD encouraging community partnerships and engagement. As Chief of Police, she and the SPD were the nation’s immediate responders to implement first responder safety protocols and practices in response to COVID-19. Best also facilitated record-breaking diversity hiring and recruitment within the department.
Carmen Best has lived in the Pacific Northwest her entire life, outside of her service in the United States Army and has received dozens of awards for her contributions to community engagement, public safety, gender equity, and diversity and inclusion. She received the “Newsmaker of the Year” award from the Seattle Black Press, the “Vision from the Mountain Top” award from Urban Impact for her commitment to justice and community, the “Influential Woman of 2020” award from the Puget Sound Business Journal, the FBI National Executive Institute Associates (NEIA) National Law Enforcement Ethics Award 2020 and the Leadership Award from Major Cities Chief’s Association 2020. She was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2019), dedicated to recognizing individuals who selflessly contribute to society and uphold the ideals of America, an award read into the Congressional Record. Additionally, Ms. Best was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work on the public safety announcements “Safe in the Sound.” Most recently she was awarded the 2022 “Women Can Do” award from the Honorary Consul of Sweden, and the 2022 recipient of the “Woman of the Year” award from the National Police Defense Foundation amongst many other recognitions and the 2023 “Mother of the Year” award from the American Lung Association.
Best serves on the Leadership Council for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Seattle. She is a board member for United Way of King County (UWKC), the Young Women’s Christian Association of King County (YWCA) with a mission eliminating racism and promoting equity, and the Seattle University Criminal Justice Advisory Committee. She is a longstanding member of the Human and Civil Rights Committee (HCRC) for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Police Executive Research Forum, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), The International Organization of Black Security Executives (IOBSE), and the International Women’s Forum (IWF).
Ms. Best became a first-time author in late 2021 when she released her book, “Black in Blue: Lessons on Leadership, Breaking Barriers and Racial Reconciliation.”
She is a contributor to MSNBC, CNBC and NBC News. She is regularly requested as a subject matter expert and keynote speaker, both locally and nationally on a variety of topics: public safety, leadership, reimagining policing, police reform, women in policing, and diversity and inclusion.
Best has a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University. She has completed the FBI National Executive Institute (NEI), the FBI National Academy (FBI/NA), the Criminal Justice Executive Leadership Academy, the Major Cities Chiefs Association’s Police Executive Leadership Institute (PELI), and the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP).
Ms. Best is a member of the International Organization of Black Security Executives, ASIS International, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and the National Latino Police Officers Association (NLPOA) and is the mother of two adult daughters and enjoys hiking in her spare time.