King County Police Officer’s Guild position on the office of Elected Sheriff
In 1996 the King County Police Officer’s Guild backed a measure to make the King County Sheriff elected. From 1967-1996, the Sheriff was appointed. What we saw was a public official who could not speak out on your behalf. An appointed Sheriff works for the Council, not you…the voter. We believe that the most important law enforcement official in government should be voted in by the people. The people should have the right to choose. This is done in over 3100 Counties in the United States and it works. If the people do not like the Sheriff, the Sheriff can be voted out of office. This is democracy.
The King County Sheriff’s Office is an accountable, well run organization that provides public safety services to nearly 250,000 residents who do not live in cities. In addition, we provide contract law enforcement services to another 260,000 residents of 12 cities and towns who have decided to partner with us.
Our model of contracting is unique in this nation. We were one of the first agencies in the state of Washington to negotiate an Office of Law Enforcement Oversight. In addition, the proposal to go back to an appointed Sheriff is a proposal to take power from the people and consolidate it in the hands of a few. We urge you to maintain your rights to choose your own leaders.
We recognize the need for changes that Law Enforcement as a whole must address but this change is not one of them. Keep your right to vote. This model saves money by reducing redundant overhead costs. The Sheriff’s Office is routinely contacted by people throughout the country inquiring about our unique model of law enforcement. They want to know how we do it, how it all works. Services are cost shared across jurisdictions saving money. More importantly, accountability for actions reach directly to the Officer and Deputy on the street who realize that our services can be obtained elsewhere. This accountability model is ultimately manifested in an elected Sheriff who is accountable to the people.
The King County Police Officer’s Guild is a diverse group of 740 men and women dedicated to serving others. 17 King County Sheriff’s Deputies have lost their lives serving others. We are deeply saddened by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Police Officer. It mars our profession and erodes trust in who are and what we’re about.
The men and women of this Guild are the ones who come to your aid when you call 911. We are always on duty, 24 hrs a days, weekends and holidays. We will always respond to help others. Many of us live in King County, we are your neighbors. Our kids are in the same schools as your kids. We go out to the same restaurants you do, we shop at the same stores, we live life with you.
These are very trying times for those of us in the law enforcement profession. We strive to hire the best people possible though this can be challenging. Our call is not for everyone but the King County Sheriff’s Office has done a remarkable job hiring quality people for a very difficult job. The King County Police Officer’s Guild are those people. “We” are “you”.
What makes the King County Sheriff’s Office so special are the quality people in it. We strive to do our best. We hold one another accountable. We are proud of what we do and we KNOW that this is an honorable profession. We exist to help others and to keep the public safe.
Contact the King County Council, tell them you deserve the right to Vote!