Burien cops considering leaving department if police chief is forced out by city

May 6, 2024, 8:08 AM

burien police chief...

Burien Police responding to a crime scene. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Burien police officers are considering leaving their posts if the city fires its police chief.

In a letter to the Burien City Council, police officers have expressed “no confidence” in both Burien Mayor Kevin Schilling and City Manager Adolfo Bailon. Bailon recommended firing the city’s police chief, Ted Boe, after claiming he had lost trust in his ability to enforce the law, according to The B-Town Blog.

More Burien news: Burien police officer not enforcing city’s new camping ban

“Ted has been our chief for the majority of the last decade and has done nothing but improve this worksite for your city,” the letter read. “In addition to significant drops in crime and increases in proactive activity, Ted has put Burien on the map as the premiere agency for mental health alternatives to police interaction with our neighbors in crisis.”

The City of Burien and King County have been involved in an ongoing dispute over the city’s recently expanded anti-camping ordinance. The Burien City Council passed Ordinance 832 this March, prohibiting camping in certain “protected and designated” zones around the city.

Background on ongoing dispute: Burien city manager moves to replace police chief as camping ban fight rages

The ordinance passed on a 5-2 vote. Unhoused individuals are still allowed to camp in public areas from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. — as long as there is no more available room in local shelters. But those same individuals are barred from setting up any tents or camps within 500 feet of libraries, schools, daycares and parks in Burien.

Through the interlocal agreement, King County oversees the Burien police department, meaning Boe is an employee of Burien’s contractor — King County and King County
Sheriff’s Office.

On March 11, King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall held a press conference announcing that police would not enforce the ordinance over concerns it’s unconstitutional, even filing a legal challenge after the law passed. The City of Burien subsequently filed a lawsuit against the King County Sheriff’s Office and Cole-Tindall, alleging the county breached its interlocal agreement for refusing to enforce the aforementioned homeless camping ban.

“This is an incredibly frustrating situation for everyone,” Burien City Council member Linda Akey said in a statement. “While I like the chief as a person, constituents elected me to help tackle the homeless issue so that we can have a safe and livable community.”

The King County Sheriff’s Office called Bailon’s request to remove Chief Boe “surprising,” according to FOX 13, highlighting hundreds of arrests made under his leadership and how car theft, residential burglary, vandalism and assault are all down from last year.

Bailon praised Boe as recently as last November.

“Chief Boe has cultivated tremendous success in leading his team, and we look forward to his continued success for many years to come,” Bailon said last November, according to The B-Town Blog.

More police department news: What Seattle police officers are saying during exit interviews

Boe, a 24-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, has been Burien’s police chief since 2018.

Burien police claimed if Boe is removed, officers will immediately request to transfer to other posts.

This is a developing story, check back for updates

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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Burien cops considering leaving department if police chief is forced out by city