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How the King County Sheriff’s Office is preparing for civil unrest

(King County Sheriff's Office)

Businesses all around Seattle are starting to board up their windows, concerned for the potential of civil unrest after the election Tuesday. King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss fears of unrest and whether there’s enough law enforcement officers to handle it.

“I think everybody is preparing for any events that might happen, and so we want to make sure that we have thought of public safety first. And at the sheriff’s office, we’re prepared for staffing up and having a command post and preparation for anything that might happen,” she said.

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“So had one phone call with SPD Chief Diaz, and, you know, sometimes we can help out, and several other times we have to focus on other areas of our jurisdiction.”

Sheriff Johanknecht says extra measures will be taken and they are prepared to help suburban areas if needed.

“Well, what we’ve done before is we’ve backfilled to answer and respond to 911 calls for the City of Seattle, and those are the things that we’re preparing to do with our other suburban cities if they ask us. And so we’ll have up staffing tomorrow and the day after the election, and kind of just waiting to see what arises. But at this point, I don’t have any information of unrest.”

Seattle Police Chief Diaz: City lacks enough officers to maintain safety

If there are significant instances of unrest that require special attention, do we realistically have enough officers to handle safety in numerous areas?

“Well, realistically you have a lot of folks that we hope will listen to law enforcement if the time comes and that people will help take care of their own safety as well. Sometimes we get folks that just come out to watch, and that’s not helpful. Folks can get in the way,” she said.

“But I think if you look at the numbers of law enforcement across King County, that those numbers can quickly be overwhelmed by — well, it’s possible to get overwhelmed when we used to have Super Bowl parades and stuff like that. It all is what is the intent of the groups that may be turning up to rally. And we have to go from there and be clever about how we use our resources.”

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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