King County narrows down search for new head of law enforcement oversight

Jul 12, 2021, 11:23 AM
OLEO, King County oversight...
File photo of OLEO representatives presenting a report at King County Council. (Photo courtesy of OLEO/Facebook)
(Photo courtesy of OLEO/Facebook)

The two finalists for King County’s vacant Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) director position will take questions from the community this week, as the county looks to wrap up its months-long search.

‘Toxic’ law enforcement oversight director faces discipline

OLEO was first created in 2011 as a civilian oversight group to strengthen the county’s police accountability infrastructure. In 2015, it was given the authority to investigate claims of misconduct against local law enforcement agencies and officers. Most recently, a late-2020 report discovered several “problematic gaps” in an investigation from the King County Sheriff’s Office into the 2017 death of 20-year-old Tommy Le.

The OLEO’s previous director, Deborah Jacobs, was removed from her position last September following allegations that she had fostered a “toxic” work environment. In a subsequent investigation, she stood accused of saying only a white man could do certain jobs at OLEO, excluding transgender women from a party, and telling a Black employee that a Black-owned business was “ghetto.”

That saw King County councilmembers vote to not extend her contract by a 5-4 margin, and begin a national search for her replacement.

Tommy Le family sues King County for officer-involved shooting

In late June, the council announced that it had narrowed its search down to two candidates: Chicago-based civil rights attorney and community organizer Tamer Abouzeid, and civilian police oversight manager and former police auditor in Richland, California, Eddie Aubrey.

Abouzeid and Aubrey will participate in a pair of virtual meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, where members of the community will ask them a series of prepared questions. They will each be expected to complete a survey after each session, followed by interviews with the Recruitment Advisory and Employment Administration committees.

The committee will then choose its preferred candidate, and send the name on to the county council for final approval.

If you would like to participate in either of this week’s virtual meetings, you can head here for more information.

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King County narrows down search for new head of law enforcement oversight