Newly appointed King County Sheriff calls her department a ‘paramilitary organization’

May 11, 2022, 5:12 PM | Updated: 5:21 pm
Interim Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall (King County)
(King County)

Interim sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall described her department as a “paramilitary organization” one week before her council hearing and confirmation vote to be sworn in as King County Sheriff.

“We are a paramilitary organization. We have accountability here at the sheriff’s office, and we will hold people accountable if we learned that they are actively working against the mission and goal of this agency,” Cole-Tindall told Gee and Ursula on KIRO Newsradio.

‘Not very transparent,’ King County councilmember says of search for new sheriff

Cole-Tindall doubled down on that description, describing her office the same way again in response to a question about internal accountability.

“By our leadership team and myself as the sheriff, demonstrating that behavior, I believe that that will reflect in how our employees act and react and how they show up. So we, as a paramilitary organization, hold people accountable for when they don’t do the things that we are supposed to do,” Cole-Tindall said.

Following a nationwide search and extensive interviews, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced his appointment of Patti Cole-Tindall to serve as King County Sheriff on May 3.

Cole-Tindall served as the County’s Director of Labor Relations, advising Constantine and the County Council on strategic planning, labor policy, and employment law. She held that position until 2015, when she joined the King County Sheriff’s Office in October 2015, serving as the Chief of Technical Services Division for almost five years before becoming Undersheriff in 2020.

When she was appointed to Interim Sheriff in November 2021, she didn’t consider becoming the King County Sherriff long term.

“Even at the press conference, when the executive [Constantine] named me as interim, I was asked that question. I said, ‘absolutely not,'” Cole-Tindall said. “I am not going to apply because I believe it would distract and take me away from the things that needed to be done that I felt needed to be done immediately with the agency.”

“People within the agency, people in the community, some of our labor unions, and some on the county council asked me, ‘won’t you reconsider?’ And, you know, I really in the beginning, even at that point, I was like, ‘no, no, no,'” she continued. “I never woke up and said, ‘hey, I want to be the sheriff.’ But as we continued this work, I really started to give it some serious thought. And I thought, well, why not me?”

‘They never could figure me out’: Former King County Sheriff looks back on shortened tenure

Cole-Tindall was appointed sheriff by Constantine, her former direct superior when she was the County’s Director of Labor Relations. She also donated to his campaigns from 2009 to 2015.

“Yes, I did contribute to Dow Constantine. I have not since I came to the sheriff’s office,” Cole-Tindall said. “But also, when I was here at the sheriff’s office, I did contribute to John Urquhart’s campaign for sheriff. I mean, it’s my decision as an individual. And I think most directors or people in high-level positions decide to support whoever their bosses, and when I worked for Dow directly, I did contribute.”

“I know there was some that thought; that’s why he made me sheriff. I’m thinking, ‘really?’ I mean, that’s farther from the case,” she continued. “I believe I was the best choice. But I did contribute. Yes.”

Local News

(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)...
MyNorthwest Staff

Copper River Salmon is back with its most inflated price yet

Alaska’s Copper River salmon arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Tuesday morning, marking the start of the season for the popular fish.
1 day ago
Students working in a sloyd room at the Indian Industrial School. (Photo courtesy of the William A....
Frank Sumrall

Federal Indian boarding schools implemented systematic cultural whitewashing, new report reveals

The U.S. Interior Department published a report detailing the atrocities committed at boarding schools against Indigenous people. 
1 day ago
Dalton Day

What Seattle’s recent election reveals about the success of democracy vouchers

Andrew Grant Houston's campaign for mayor asks questions about the success or failure of Seattle's democracy vouchers program.
1 day ago
Blood reserves are filtered and processed in the central laboratory of the DRK blood donation servi...
Nicole Jennings

PNW blood platelet shortage no longer ‘critical,’ but 2,000 donations still needed

The Pacific Northwest is in need of thousands of blood platelet donations. Blood platelets stop us from bleeding to death when we have a cut.
1 day ago
Follow @http://twitter.com/Mynorthwest...
MyNorthwest Staff

ORCA overhauls system with added features and updated card readers

ORCA's highly-anticipated new website, smartphone app, and real-time value loading for cards launched today for hundred of thousands of transit customers.
2 days ago
ExperTec Automotive technician Adelmo Rodriguez etches a catalytic converter with the cars license ...
Micki Gamez

Catalytic converter theft runs rampant in Seattle, nation sees dramatic increase

Catalytic converters became a hot commodity during the pandemic due to the high-priced metals, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, within them.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Newly appointed King County Sheriff calls her department a ‘paramilitary organization’