King County Council members call for sheriff’s office reforms
September 8, 2012
NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 8, 2012
King County Council members Bob Ferguson and Julia Patterson introduced legislation Sept. 3 to address a recent King County Sheriff’s Office performance audit.
The audit examined the sheriff’s office’s Internal Investigations Unit and the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight. The legislation calls for the sheriff to demonstrate and document actions being taken to address significant shortcomings in internal investigation operations.
“This legislation is all about transparency and accountability,” Ferguson — Government Accountability, Oversight and Financial Performance Committee chairman — said in a statement. “Establishing a plan with deadlines and deliverables makes it clear that we expect to see progress and reforms in how citizen complaints and misconduct cases are handled.”
The audit report highlighted deficiencies in the sheriff’s office’s internal investigations operations and accountability system. The audit made 16 recommendations for improving the effectiveness of investigations and law enforcement oversight.
“Even though Sheriff Strachan has committed to resolving the issues outlined in July’s audit, the legislative branch has an obligation to ensure that the commitments are carried out in a timely and transparent manner,” Patterson said in a statement. “The legislation introduced today will do just that.”
The sheriff’s office concurred with the audit recommendations and Sheriff Steve Strachan presented a plan for addressing the recommendations made in the audit.
The legislation introduced by Ferguson and Patterson builds on the sheriff’s plan and adopts a performance audit action plan to track the sheriff’s office’s implementation of the audit recommendations.
The action plan calls for the sheriff and the director of the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight to provide specific outcomes related to implementation of the audit recommendations.