King County Sheriff commissions Chief Patti Cole-Tindall (UPDATED)
UPDATE, 9/13: After posting this article Sept. 12, we were informed that Chief Patti Cole-Tindall did attend Basic Law Enforcement Academy. Cole-Tindall attended in 1992 under a different name. We were also informed that Chief Cole-Tindall does not carry a firearm. We regret the error.
A potential fill-in for Sheriff has completed basic training, but her certification isn’t in compliance with current law.
Former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, who is now the Executive Director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, says they have no record of Chief Patti Cole Tindall. As part of the process to become a fully certified police officer, a candidate must complete the prescribed training course, a current criminal history background check, a polygraph within the last 12-months, and a psych evaluation.
Rahr explained that the law to deputize a person is tricky.
“Essentially, the sheriff can commission whomever she wants, including allowing that person to carry a weapon in the capacity of a fully-commissioned, general authority peace officer,” she told KIRO Radio.
Rahr further explained, “If that person has not met the state training and certification requirements, that responsibility relies solely on the commissioning sheriff.”
Johanknecht acknowledges responsibility for Tindall’s commission in a letter that reads, in part:.
The authority granted is a general appointment, without restrictions or limitations, which is intended to provide the Technical Services Division Chief the authority to provide management to the County Sheriff’s Office. This includes authority to wear the department uniform, the issuing of a department vehicle and the expectation to respond to emergencies as determined by the Sheriff.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has not responded to requests for clarification on what it means that the sheriff shall be responsible.
According to Rahr, when you have a commissioned officer who is not certified, there could be a significant liability for the commissioning sheriff should the actions of the uncertified, commissioned officer or deputy result in wrongful death, injury, civil rights violation, etc.
Documents obtained by KIRO Radio show that Tindall has filled in for the sheriff at least once, and on multiple occasions for the undersheriff.
Many county employees tell KIRO Radio that giving an employee, who is not a deputy in the sheriff’s office, a commission to wear the uniform and a fully loaded car resembling that of the sheriff’s is demoralizing.
A request was made that Tindall’s vehicle be “outfitted just like the Sheriff’s vehicle — a fully loaded 2019 XLT Explorer with a police radio, emergency lights and a siren,” according to documents in a public disclosure request.