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VOTE411 Voter Guide

King County Sheriff

The sheriff is the chief executive officer and conservator of the peace of the county. In the execution of his or her office, he or she and his or her deputies: (1) Shall arrest and commit to prison all persons who break the peace, or attempt to break it, and all persons guilty of public offenses: (2) Shall defend the county against those who, by riot or otherwise, endanger the public peace or safety; (3) Shall execute the process and orders of the courts of justice or judicial officers, when delivered for that purpose, according to law; (4) Shall execute all warrants delivered for that purpose by other public officers, according to the provisions of particular statutes; (5) Shall attend the sessions of the courts of record held within the county, and obey their lawful orders or directions; (6) Shall keep and preserve the peace in their respective counties, and quiet and suppress all affrays, riots, unlawful assemblies and insurrections, for which purpose, and for the service of process in civil or criminal cases, and in apprehending or securing any person for felony or breach of the peace, they may call to their aid such persons, or power of their county as they may deem necessary.
  • Candidate picture

    Mitzi Johanknecht (NP) Major, King County Sheriff's Office

  • Candidate picture

    John Urquhart (NP) King County Sheriff

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Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for this position?

What are the three major issues facing the Sheriff's office today?

Of the three, which one is the most urgent?

How will you work with the prosecuting attorney's office?

Phone (206) 470-9836
Town where you live Seattle
I am an experienced law enforcement leader with a track record of success. I am running for Sheriff because I believe the people of King County and the employees of the Sheriff’s Office deserve a forward-thinking law enforcement leader who will restore honor and integrity to the Office of Sheriff and return focus to the business of public safety. After over 32 years of law enforcement experience, 20 of which have been in command and leadership positions, I am both prepared and excited to change the direction of the King County Sheriff’s Office.
1. Return KCSO’s focus to public safety by addressing crime and traffic issues affecting our communities. We must leverage technology to target high impact offenders and locations. We must work with the public and use their knowledge and observations to provide better law enforcement services. Public safety is a team sport and we must use innovative approaches to prevent crime. 2. Build community trust and support through direct involvement with neighborhoods, communities, and businesses. We must collaborate with our communities to improve our performance and the quality of life of those we serve. We will restore internal controls and training to reduce risk to the public and deputies. 3. Employ modern management techniques and principles. Together, we will design and implement strategic and business plans to guide decisions and measure effectiveness. We can’t improve what we do not plan for and measure. I will identify and promote experienced, educated, talented and ethical leaders.
Building and maintaining the community's trust is the most urgent issue facing law enforcement today. This is not a short term endeavor. It is a constant, ongoing effort to reimagine the role of law enforcement in our society. Part of earning your trust is means training our deputies to the highest standards, equipping them with the tools and resources they need not only to enforce our laws, but to resolve conflicts peacefully, whenever possible. We will improve our transparency and hold ourselves to the high standards of accountability you deserve.
We currently enjoy an excellent working relationship with the King County Prosecutor's Office as well as our municipal prosecutors and that must continue. As different facets of the justice system, we work together to make our communities safer. I would promote closer engagement with between prosecutors and our rank and file so deputies understand what happens to they cases the file and can better explain the legal process to our communities.
Town where you live Mercer Island
Experience (300 characters max) King County Sheriff since November of 2012. I have over 41 years of police experience, including the last 28 years as a full-time member of the Sheriff’s Office. I have worked roles including Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Master Police Officer, street-level vice detective, PIO, and more.
Maintaining the community’s trust and confidence in the Sheriff’s Office is my strongest motivator to seek reelection. We have made great strides these last 4.5 years in the Sheriff’s Office, and I want to continue the great work we have done. Prior to my election in 2012, a King County audit found that the command staff in the Sheriff’s Office was not holding itself accountable. The audit found that the command staff was not following the correct protocols to ensure internal investigations were thorough and objective, and important processes were not completed on time. Since then, I have overhauled the Internal Investigation Unit, reformed our officer-involved shooting reviews, and implemented an Administrative Review Team that ensures the leadership in the Sheriff’s Office uses introspection to learn from its events so that mistakes are not repeated. The same person who led the prior audit recently roundly praised the progress of the Sheriff’s Office under my leadership.
Trust & Accountability: I will continue to hold my deputies—of every rank—accountable. The Sheriff’s Office is now a model of accountability and a model for community trust! But while we have made great strides forward, there are those who are working to set the Sheriff’s Office back to a place where misconduct and malfeasance is ignored or tolerated. I cannot and will not let that happen. This work must continue, and I will focus on maintaining that trust into my next term.

Body Cameras: I predict that in ten years, every police officer in the country will be wearing a body camera. I plan to have a body camera pilot program up and running by January 1, 2018.

I plan to continue the era of financial accountability. I have never gone back to the County Council for extra funds due to budget mismanagement, and I never will. One of the jobs of the Sheriff is to be a good steward of the public’s money. That will continue after I am re-elected.
Accountability and community trust: I will continue to hold my deputies—of every rank—accountable. The Sheriff’s Office is now a model of accountability and a model for community trust! This work must continue, and I will focus on maintaining that trust into my next term. Part of this accountability is diversifying the perspectives of the deputies within the Sheriff’s Office. We need to become a mirror of the community we serve by having more women, ethnicities, persons of color, and members of the LGBTQ community than we do now. I will do this by focusing on how we recruit, where we recruit, and whom we recruit. Since during my tenure as Sheriff, we have never been more diverse, both by race and by gender. But we have a long way to go!
I am proud to have the endorsement and full support of Dan Satterberg in my re-election bid. I have a positive and well-established relationship with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. For example, in October 2011, I worked with the King County prosecuting Attorney’s Office and others to implement the pre-booking diversion program for people arrested on narcotics and prostitution charges in the U.S. It is a program that diverts and refers individuals involved in low-level drug crime and prostitution to housing and treatment centers to get back on their feet. This program has proven to be effective at reducing recidivism in these crimes. My office has made great progress in becoming more accountable to the public. But I want a higher standard of transparency and accountability for officer-involved shootings. In my next term, I want to continue work with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to ensure that police officers are never involved in investing their own shootings. logo


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