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Amid police shortage

GS Heating
Published:2021-07-29 Business
Amid police shortage    Print Snohomish Times    
Amid police shortage

In response to massive staffing challenges at the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), King County’s 8th COVID-19 supplemental budget – approved today by the King County Council – includes funding for a new full-time KCSO recruiter. This new position is key to filling the 54 deputy positions that have been sitting vacant.

The $248,000 in added KCSO funding was provided through a budget amendment sponsored by King County Councilmembers Reagan Dunn and Pete Von Reichbauer.

“Amid low morale, lack of resources, and officer burnout, it’s been extremely challenging for the Sheriff’s Office to attract high-quality candidates—and as a result, many critical positions have been left unfilled,” Dunn said. “Now more than ever, we need good deputies who have a heart for the job and a drive to build positive relationships in their community. A recruiter makes it much more realistic that we will fill the 54 vacant deputy positions with men and women who will wear the Sheriff’s badge with honor.”

The King County Sheriff’s Office is struggling to fill entry-level deputy positions, making it challenging to adequately staff even basic patrol duties. The current recruitment challenges reflect a broader nationwide trend of increased difficulties recruiting new police officers.

“With crime rates rising across our region, investing in public safety is a top priority,” von Reichbauer said. “It is critical that the Sheriff’s Office has the resources it needs to fill its vacancies quickly, and that King County is a good partner with our contract cities who rely on the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement in their communities.”

Since January of this year, KCSO has received 351 entry-level applications. Only 79 of those candidates, who represent 22% of the applications received, were eligible to be hired due to criteria regarding basic qualifications such as a clean criminal history and good health.

In addition to these hiring challenges, a wave of KCSO deputy resignations has followed last year's charter amendments that made the King County Sheriff an appointed position. In addition, statewide police reforms have caused confusion and hesitation among law enforcement officers about how to perform their job. In 2020, KCSO saw a 42% increase in deputy resignations. So far in 2021, 50 deputies have resigned, putting 2021 resignations on track to surpass the 69 resignations that occurred in 2020.




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