October 16, 2012
John Urquhart for sheriff
King County voters last experienced a contested race for sheriff in 2005.
The race on the ballot next month, between appointed Sheriff Steve Strachan and John Urquhart, a former King County Sheriff’s Office sergeant, offers voters a choice between a pair of capable candidates.
Former Sheriff Sue Rahr stepped down in March, and the King County Council appointed Strachan for the interim. The election is to fill the remainder of Rahr’s term through December 2013.
The sheriff’s office is mired in problems with personnel, policies and procedures — all brought to light in recent audits. The next sheriff has a paramount duty to correct the issues and restore public confidence in the agency.
Both candidates served as insiders in the department — Strachan as Rahr’s chief deputy, Urquhart as spokesman and a beat cop — and yet both claim to bear the mantel of change. Neither candidate is ideal, but both offer a deep respect for the agency and its mission to protect and serve the public.
Urquhart lacks managerial experience at a large public agency, so his decision, if elected, to bring Anne Kirkpatrick — a reform-minded former police chief of Spokane, Federal Way and Ellensburg — on board in the sheriff’s office No. 2 slot is heartening.
Urquhart also possesses the skills to communicate the agency’s mission and priorities to elected leaders in Seattle and Olympia, deputies in the field and, most importantly, to the public.
Vote Urquhart for sheriff.