King County Council looking to appoint rather than elect sheriff

Jul 13, 2020, 11:51 AM
king county sheriff...
(King County Sheriff's Office, Facebook)
(King County Sheriff's Office, Facebook)

The King County Council is looking to appoint, rather than elect, the position of sheriff, a move that could significantly change how policing operates in the county. King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht joined the Jason Rantz Show to discuss the proposed move.

“I think as a member of the same community as every other voter, we have a right to elect people to office, which has included the King County Sheriff’s Office since 1996. It’s not just because I’m in the office. Certainly I’d like to run for re-election and win another opportunity to serve,” she said.

“It’s overarching I believe our right and responsibility in this nation to vote,” she added.

As Jason noted, it’s certainly different than if this were a police chief and handled only one particular community. But since this is all of King County the implications are far greater.

Creating police reform without the ‘us versus them’ mentality

“Some would lead you to believe that we only patrol and do police work in the county. But that’s not true. We help provide services to our neighboring counties and in various areas. So it goes broader than just a municipality. That’s why we have county lines and things that overlap in government,” she said.

King County Council Rod Dembowski argued on the show recently that there are fewer people who vote during off-year elections, and that as a result, the votes are not representative of the community being served. What’s her response to this?

“I don’t agree with that. I think that the race that I had in 2017 — at the same time the county executive and other officials were elected statewide — had more than a couple 100,000 votes (about 284,000 people voted for her),” she said.

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“I think it’s important that votes come from all over the community. I would disagree with his assessment … I believe that many members of our communities voted. I saw many members when I was out on the campaign trail.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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King County Council looking to appoint rather than elect sheriff