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Meet the woman challenging Sheriff John Urquhart

Mitzi Johanknecht is challenging King County Sheriff John Urquhart for this position. (Courtesy of Mitzi for Sheriff)
LISTEN: Mitzi Johanknecht challenges King County Sheriff John Urquhart

Mitzi Johanknecht has an extensive history working in the King County Sheriff’s Office. Now, she wants to take that experience forward by challenging Sheriff John Urquhart for his position.

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“I believe we need to restore some honor and integrity to the office of the sheriff,” she told KTTH’s Todd Herman. “We can do that several ways. One is bringing in good, effective, modern leadership and procedures and also to make sure we are building trust with our community members … I don’t think that’s being done right now.”

For example, Johanknecht believes the allegations waged against Sheriff Urquhart — that he used his office to retaliate against employees under the guise of misconduct investigations.

“There’s factual evidence behind it,” Johanknecht told Todd.

Those allegations have been looked into by Seattle police, the FBI and the King County Prosecutor’s office — all declined to pursue them and no charges were ever filed. But that issue is not the only reason that Johanknecht is running for King County Sheriff. She has a variety of stances on local issues that she discussed with Todd.

The sheriff’s office

There’s not good communication from the sheriff’s office from the top down. We don’t know what the mission is of the sheriff’s office. We are not using a business plan and strategic plan to guide us through our daily missions. What needs to be done is to make sure that we have a good plan to do good police work and (Urquhart) is not currently doing that work. We have a variety of lawsuits and other issues and misuse of county funds and other things that should be of concern to the people.

Safe injection sites

(Safe injection sites) give law enforcement a huge challenge in providing public safety. Heroin is against the law. I am not in support of safe injection sites. I believe that it is a public safety risk and a health risk and we don’t know the consequences of inserting these things into our communities.

Johanknecht said that there should be greater emphasis placed on treatment options and providing deputies with Narcan, a drug that treats opioid overdoses.

SPD fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles

I think they (the officers) were doing their jobs. I think that we need to wait and see where the investigation plays out. What’s really important is that we have a good internal look at what occurred and that will show us what options they had, what things they did, what could they have done better.

Sanctuary cities / counties

My job as the King County Sheriff is to enforce the laws of the State of Washington and King County. In that process we should go after folks who are dealing drugs and illegally cooking (drugs) and doing those kinds of things. Part of my run for sheriff is restoring public safety to King County Sheriff’s Office.

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