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Police guild president says members want Sheriff Johanknecht to resign

Mitzi Johanknecht is sworn in as the King County sheriff. (Hanna Scott/KIRO Radio)

The police union in King County is asking for Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht to resign.

King County Police Officers Guild President Mike Mansanarez told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show that they had 465 union members respond to their survey, and even 190 of them provided comments. As much as 96% of the responding members said the sheriff’s communication skills are poor.

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Mansanarez explained that one example of frustrating communication was during Seattle’s “Summer of Love” last year.

“We lost our funding for our Demonstration Management Team,” Mansanarez said. “They took away our gear. And then to find ourselves — many members and myself — on the front lines of 13th and Pine on a Saturday at 9 o’clock at night until one in the morning, without proper gear — communication from the top really hurt. Deputies were told to come in and stage in an area where they were told to sit there for four hours, waiting to be told what to do. Just sitting there, no direction, it was frustrating for my members, for the deputies.”

Additionally, Mansanarez said there was frustration that the command staff, including Sheriff Johanknecht and her chief of staff, were invited to the precincts but rarely made an appearance.

“It’s kind of like you’re in the ivory tower and you forget where you come from,” he said.

Johanknecht’s term is up on Dec. 31, 2021. Her replacement would be up to King County Executive Dow Constantine as voters approved in November a charter that allows the county executive to appoint a new sheriff. King County will be the only county in Washington state where the voters will not have a say in choosing the sheriff.

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Mansanarez also confirmed to Dori that, indeed, his name is not allowed to be mentioned in Johanknecht’s presence.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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