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(King County Sheriff's Office)
As defund police efforts move forward in Seattle, it remains to be seen if such an agenda will spread to other parts of King County and the state. There is currently an effort to reform aspects of the King County Sheriff’s Office, including moving the sheriff from an elected position to an appointed position by the county council.
King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn joined the Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio to discuss new efforts to defund the King County Sheriff’s Department, and warn against an appointed sheriff.
“The Charter Review Commission was simply a pretext by King Executive Dow Constantine, and the Seattle-centered King County Council to shift power from the charter where an elected sheriff is elected and controls law enforcement policy and the sheriff’s office, to one that is subject to the whims of the downtown Seattle, King County executive,” he said.
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“And so it is exactly in lockstep with what you’re seeing in Seattle, where they want to neuter the law enforcement functions of the sheriff’s office, they want to decriminalize everything they can, and at the end of the day, make the community far less safe.”
Dunn says many of the councilmembers are strongly influenced by Seattle politics, as well as the Democratic party that he says is looking to appease the more radical elements on the left.
“You’ve got four that actually live in Seattle, and then you’ve got two more strong Democrats, who tend to — but not always — tend to follow the lead of Seattle. One of the great problems we have is because King County has gotten so radical, so socialized in terms of the politics that the Democratic Party is now shifting and chasing that leftist Marxist radical element,” he said.
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“There’s a few that kind of stand up for the middle ground still a little bit. But everyone’s lost their mind. There is no balance.”
He believes this shifting of the sheriff’s position is an attempt to bring more of King County under the influence of Seattle politics.
“The King County sheriff has primary jurisdiction over unincorporated King County. That’s all outside of the city of Seattle. That’s outside of Issaquah and the outside of Snoqualmie and outside Enumclaw and those areas. And so what they’re trying to do is take control of that independently elected sheriff so that Dow Constantine and the liberal King County Council control it,” he said.
Slower police response times in rural areas
As Dori suggested, the spread out nature of rural areas means there’s already less of a police presence and slightly slower police response times, so if a defund movement took hold, it could become even worse in those parts.
“Urban areas have about three times the police presence per 1,000 residents as unincorporated areas, so they are already way, way down. If you defund the sheriff’s office, response times will be next to nothing. Remember, there’s a quarter of a million people who live in unincorporated King County … It needs a police presence. It does not need to be politicized. It does not need to be defunded. In fact, it needs to have funding increase by about 20% so that we’re on par with the other communities across the country of the same size,” Dunn said.
“But remember, there are 39 counties in Washington. Every single one of them has an elected chair. Let’s not reinvent the wheel … There aren’t a whole lot of things that local government does. One of the few things it does that really matters is keep the community safe and law enforcement. And if you start defunding, that satisfies some radical element in the community, you and your homes, your neighborhood, your neighbors, your families are going to see an increase in organized crime coming to your community.”
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.
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