Eviction notices one of most dangerous jobs a police officer faces

Mar 22, 2023, 12:58 PM | Updated: 2:23 pm

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Detective shot in Ballard while serving eviction notice. (Sam Campbell)

(Sam Campbell)

A detective with the King County Sheriff’s Office was shot Monday morning while serving an eviction notice in Ballard, according to the King County Independent Force Investigation Team.

One of the most dangerous parts of the job, according to Steven Strand, the executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, is serving an eviction notice.

“It’s an area of law enforcement that a lot of people don’t know much about,” Strand said on The Gee & Ursula Show. “It’s a specific responsibility of sheriff’s offices to serve civil process.”

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According to Washington State crime statistics, assaults on officers increased in 2022 by nearly 20%, and the increase in assaults on officers during an eviction notice is even more staggering.

“In the category that includes evictions and civil processes, the increase is almost 40%,” Strand said. “A 39% increase in assaults on officers, and I’m hearing that anecdotally from a lot of agencies as well. We’ve all been through a lot. I mean, certainly the pandemic, protests, all the changes and disruptions we’ve been going through in our society last few years, and that volatility that willingness to resort to violence is present in so many contexts, including these kinds of contexts which used to be relatively routine.”

Crime continues to surge, according to Strand, as his department is reporting 384 homicides were committed in 2022 with more data being processed — blowing past 2021’s mark of 336, the highest amount King County recorded at the time.

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“Even with all the precautions, it also requires a tremendous amount of empathy because in a lot of those cases, like domestic violence, this is a person going through a very intense and emotional time,” Strand said regarding eviction notices. “And it requires a lot of empathy.

“Every deputy who’s dealt with these types of calls that I’ve ever known in my career are very, very empathetic people because they need to be,” Strand continued. “They’re dealing with human beings that are going through a difficult time. And then, combine that with the increasing willingness we’re seeing for people to use violence, including against law enforcement, that’s a difficult mix.”

While the detective shot on Monday is in stable but critical condition at Harborview Medical Center, according to KIRO Newsradio, Strand reminded listeners of the decrease in safety over the last few years for officers of the law.

“It’s always been an issue for the families of those who do these jobs as they leave each day, and having their partners and spouses and families thinking about their safety and concerned about them when they leave,” Strand said. “Its always been an issue, but its really been accelerated the last few years.”

Early Wednesday morning, at approximately 3 a.m., an officer with the Everett Police Department was shot in the head after responding to an armed robbery. The suspect was killed while the officer was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center, where he is currently stable.

“I’m also thinking about almost a year ago now that Officer Rocha was killed in a parking lot at Starbucks up in Everett,” Strand said. “And I can only imagine what that agency is going through.”

Police Officer Dan Rocha was killed in March 2022 outside of a Starbucks in Everett after an eight-minute interaction between Rocha and suspect Richard Rotter. Rocha tackled Rotter to the ground after he appeared to be moving guns from one car to another.

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Rocha was shot in the head three times before Rotter ran over his body, fleeing the scene, according to KOMO News.

“The next time you come on the show, I have an idea,” Gee Scott, co-host of The Gee & Ursula Show, said. “I’m going to bring to the show some ideas in which we can continue and try to push forward, and maybe we can have those discussions on the air together.”

“I think that would be constructive, and that’s exactly the kind of thing we need,” Strand replied.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Eviction notices one of most dangerous jobs a police officer faces