King County gun-buyback event collects 716 firearms

January 29, 2013

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 29, 2012

King County and partner agencies collected 716 firearms and distributed $68,000 in gift cards during a gun-buyback event Jan. 26.

The operation, held in downtown Seattle near Seattle Police Department headquarters, collected 348 pistols and 364 rifles — including three “street sweepers,” or shotguns with a high-capacity magazine capable of holding a dozen 12-gauge shotgun shells.

Though private buyers set up near the event site, officials said the public overwhelmingly chose to participate in the gun-buyback program. State law permits private gun sales between Washington residents without a background check, even though a background check is mandated for retail gun sales.

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King County, Seattle launch gun-buyback initiative

January 14, 2013

NEW — 10:30 a.m. Jan. 14, 2013

King County and Seattle leaders launched a gun-buyback program Jan. 8 in a bid to curb gun violence.

The countywide initiative offers a monetary incentive for people to turn in firearms. The initial gun-buyback event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 26 in the downtown Seattle parking lot underneath Interstate 5 between Cherry and James streets.

In exchange for dropping off a weapon, people receive a gift card valued at up to $100 for handguns, shotguns and rifles, and up to $200 for assault weapons.

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Democrats dominate Issaquah voters’ choices

January 1, 2013

Strong get-out-the vote operation boosts candidates

Democrats dominated Issaquah in the November election.

City voters chose Democrats for every federal and statewide office on the ballot — sometimes by a broad margin and others by a handful of votes.

Issaquah overwhelmingly supported Democrats in the races for president and vice president, U.S. senator and U.S. representative, and every statewide office. Only incumbent Republican Steve Litzow, a 41st Legislative District state senator representing about half of Issaquah, earned support from a majority of voters inside city limits.

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How did Issaquah vote?

January 1, 2013

City-level results from the November election show Issaquah voters followed statewide trends on some issues, or occasionally chose another direction.

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Sheriff warns against celebratory New Year’s Eve gunfire

December 31, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 31, 2012

King County Sheriff John Urquhart warned New Year’s Eve revelers against shooting guns to ring in 2013.

Nationwide, celebratory gunfire causes injuries and deaths, and local law enforcement officials want to prevent such problems in King County.

“Any bullet fired from a gun must land somewhere and the risks of causing an injury or death is significant,” Urquhart said in a statement.

The sheriff’s office said if investigators can pinpoint somebody shooting, then the agency intends to fully enforce the law. The minimum penalty for reckless endangerment is up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

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John Urquhart takes office as King County sheriff

December 4, 2012

John Urquhart

John Urquhart assumed office as King County sheriff Nov. 28, months after retiring as the agency’s longtime spokesman.

Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant, defeated the incumbent sheriff, Steve Strachan, 56 percent to 43 percent, in the Nov. 5 election after a contentious campaign.

Strachan, a former Kent police chief, and Urquhart debated how to lead the sheriff’s office after a series of audits lambasted how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

Urquhart won election to fill the remaining year in former Sheriff Sue Rahr’s unexpired term, and is due to face voters again next year.

Voters choose John Urquhart for King County sheriff

November 13, 2012

John Urquhart

John Urquhart is King County’s next top lawman.

Urquhart defeated the incumbent sheriff, Steve Strachan, 57 percent to 43 percent, after a contentious campaign.

Strachan, a former Kent police chief, and Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant and spokesman, locked horns about the agency’s future. The contest to lead the King County Sheriff’s Office hinged on a series of audits into how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

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The Issaquah Press’ general election endorsements

October 30, 2012

See the editorial board’s recommendations for congressional and legislative candidates, and statewide ballot measures, in the Nov. 6 general election.

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Next King County sheriff faces tough decisions to reform agency

October 16, 2012

The contest to lead the King County Sheriff’s Office could hinge on a series of audits into how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

John Urquhart

Steve Strachan

The contentious race pits Sheriff Steve Strachan, a former Kent police chief, against John Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant and spokesman.

King County Council members appointed Strachan as sheriff in April, not long after former Sheriff Sue Rahr resigned to lead the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, or state police academy.

Though the election is to fill the Rahr’s unexpired term through 2013, the next sheriff faces a landmark effort to reform the agency in response to audits critical of policies put into place under Strachan’s predecessors.

Strachan, a SeaTac resident, served as a police chief and state legislator in Minnesota before accepting the Kent post in 2006. In the Minnesota Legislature, he helped pass legislation to reduce the blood-alcohol limit to 0.08 percent. Rahr tapped Strachan as the chief deputy, or No. 2 spot, at the sheriff’s office in early 2011.

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Press Editorial

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.

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