King County, Washington Gives Up the Right to Elect a Sheriff
In the ever-increasing push to make police “accountable” to the left, King County, Washington has voted to make the Sheriff’s position an appointed one rather than elected. And it was done by literally having the urban areas run over the top of the rural areas in the vote. Voters also approved “Charter Amendment 6” by 62% – that initiative gave the County Council the ability to reduce the Sheriff’s duties and power.
“All Washington State Sheriffs are united in supporting the continued election of County Sheriffs, as we have expressed in a previous letter in 2019. The accountability and responsiveness of an elected Sheriff is critical to public safety in our communities. Sheriffs are, and should remain, directly accountable to the people.” Tom Jones, President, WSSA– Washington State Sheriff’s Association in October
As usual, this action comes on the heels of a narrative that is extremely misleading: that police routinely kill unarmed, “peaceful” people. The current Sheriff, Mitzi Johanknecht, will be in office until the end of 2021. All involved claimed the vote had nothing to do with her personally.
“I think what King County voters here said is we want a law enforcement system that reflects our values, and we think an important way to get there is to take down some of these barriers… I think urban counties and progressive counties are just in a different place than our more rural counties. There’s sadly something in the sheriffs where you have these sheriffs saying they are the law of the land. That’s just not where King County is.” King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski
Translation: to heck with the rural folks they’ll just have to suck it up.
“The vote was so overwhelming in the urban core and Seattle that it over[ran] the more rural vote. And you know it’s the way the ball bounces in Seattle and King County, but unfortunately, I think the policy is particularly bad as it’s going to impact rural and suburban citizens.” King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn
Of particular focus raised by both Dembowksi and (King County Executive Dow) Constantine will be finding areas where police perhaps don’t need to respond. In some ways, that’s been the low-hanging fruit for elected officials responding to the summer’s uprising — designating someone other than armed officers to help people in a behavioral health crisis.
“I’m eager for us to engage in all the work that we have teed up to really respond to the call from all of our constituents to a more holistic approach to community safety and behavioral health challenges,” said Constantine.
We’ve reported before on the foolhardiness of sending social workers to calls for someone with mental issues. Difficulties arise when there are no armed officers to assist, and people can be killed.
But it’s the narrative that police are the killers instead of the actual killers. It’s a narrative that is false at its core.
“My fear is the council will enact amendments or laws or ordinances that will serve political agendas. Law enforcement is supposed to be neutral.” Captain Stan Seo, King County Sheriff’s Office
You can bank on that, Captain Seo.
Featured photo: Screenshot of King County Sheriff vehicle via MyNorthwest.com
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