t

King County to hire recruiter to fill vacant Sheriff’s Office jobs

50 deputies have resigned this year after 69 resigned in 2020

The King County Council approved hiring a recruiter for the Sheriff’s Office in an effort to fill 54 vacant deputy positions due to increasing resignations.

A total of $248,000 was added to a COVID-19 supplemental budget to fund the recruiter position, according to a July 27 media release from King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, District 9.

So far in 2021, 50 deputies have resigned, putting this year’s resignations on track to surpass the 69 resignations that occurred in 2020, which was a 42% increase from 2019, Dunn said.

Dunn and Pete von Reichbauer, District 7, sponsored the budget amendment to add the new recruiting position.

“Amid low morale, lack of resources, and officer burnout, it’s been extremely challenging for the Sheriff’s Office to attract high-quality candidates—and as a result, many critical positions have been left unfilled,” Dunn said. “Now more than ever, we need good deputies who have a heart for the job and a drive to build positive relationships in their community. A recruiter makes it much more realistic that we will fill the 54 vacant deputy positions with men and women who will wear the sheriff’s badge with honor.”

The Sheriff’s Office is struggling to fill entry-level deputy positions, making it challenging to adequately staff even basic patrol duties. The current recruitment challenges reflect a broader nationwide trend of increased difficulties recruiting new police officers.

“With crime rates rising across our region, investing in public safety is a top priority,” von Reichbauer said. “It is critical that the Sheriff’s Office has the resources it needs to fill its vacancies quickly, and that King County is a good partner with our contract cities who rely on the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement in their communities.”

Covington, SeaTac, Burien and Maple Valley are among the cities that contract with the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement.

Since January of this year, the Sheriff’s Office has received 351 entry-level applications. Only 79 of those candidates, who represent 22% of the applications received, were eligible to be hired due to criteria regarding basic qualifications such as a clean criminal history and good health.

In addition to these hiring challenges, a wave of deputy resignations has followed last year’s charter amendments that made the King County sheriff an appointed position, Dunn said. In addition, statewide police reforms have caused confusion and hesitation among law enforcement officers about how to perform their job.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in Northwest

File photo/Sound Publishing
Ban on single-use plastic bags in WA begins Oct. 1

Shoppers will have the choice to pay for a reusable plastic or recycled paper bag.

Courtesy Photo, Port of Seattle
Port of Seattle to require vaccinations for employees

2,200 workers must be vaccinated by Nov. 15

Garbage at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. FILE PHOTO
Why burning our trash may not be as bad as it sounds

Understanding waste-to-energy’s financial and environmental impact in King County.

People hold up signs in protest of Gov. Jay Inslee’s latest proclamations during a Rally for Medical Freedom on Aug. 25 in Buckley. Photo by Alex Bruell/Sound Publishing
State workers get incentive to comply with vaccine mandate

An agreement between the state and their union also provides for some leeway in meeting the deadline.

This is a screenshot that shows the pursuit of a stolen vehicle Sept. 1 on Interstate 5 in King County.
VIDEO: Auburn police let suspected vehicle thief go, citing new laws

State laws passed earlier this spring require police to have probable cause to engage in a pursuit.

Juanita High School student Ria Mahon. Courtesy photo
Student brings awareness to menstrual health among Puget Sound’s homeless

When Ria Mohan, a junior of Juanita High School in Kirkland, had… Continue reading

Matt Axe, the Wildfire and Forest Resiliency Coordinator with the King Conservation District, speaks to homeowner Anita Kissee-Wilder about fire reduction strategies at her home in North Bend on Aug. 24. Photo by Conor Wilson/Valley Record.
King County braces for more wildfires in rural areas

Firefighters have already responded to a number of large fires.

t
New data dashboard tracks COVID-19 risk for unvaccinated, vaccinated people

Information compiled by Public Health – Seattle & King County

This 2019 security footage at the Cenex gas station in Black Diamond shows Anthony Chilcott on his phone before entering, and driving off with, Carl Sanders’ Ford Raptor and Monkey, his poodle, in the front seat. Courtesy photo
Oversight office releases scathing report on King County Sheriff’s Office

Report analyzes 2019 killing of Anthony Chilcott by deputies.

Close-up hand using phone in night time on street. File photo
King County Council steps closer to establishing hate crime hotline

The program is aimed at reducing the number of unreported hate crimes.

A Link light rail train travels underneath the University of Washington during testing to open the new line to Northgate. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit
Northgate Link light rail testing moves into final stages

Three new north Seattle stations opening Oct. 2