1 deputy per shift in White Center? Sheriff Sue Rahr @ County Council Budget Committee
The King County Council‘s budget committee has just begun its first public meeting specifically to talk about next year’s budget, and one of those who will testify is Sheriff Sue Rahr. According to her spokesperson Sgt. John Urquhart, her talking points will include a contention that County Executive Kurt Triplett‘s budget proposal is not as rosy for her department as it sounds – she says it will cut patrol power in areas like White Center and Boulevard Park by as much as 75 percent. You can watch the testimony live right now through the Council’s online player. (Along with Rahr, King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg and other criminal-justice leaders are presenting.) UPDATE: “The budget, as presented, is not what it seems. It does not shield public safety,” Sheriff Rahr has told the council in opening remarks that she described as “short and sweet.” She says the budget, for example, overcompensates for the Burien annexation of south North Highline and would leave her with one deputy per shift in White Center. ADDED 1:12 PM: Sgt. Urquhart has provided the full text of Sheriff Rahr’s remarks to the committee:
The budget, as presented, isn’t what it seems.
It does not “prioritize” public safety.
It does not “shield criminal justice”.
It does not only cut “criminal justice by 1%”.
The Sheriff’s Office unincorporated budget alone will be cut by almost 6%.
A $3.5 million dollar cut is attributed to the Burien annexation. The appropriate reduction due to workload for the annexed area is only seven deputies. However this budget proposes cutting an additional 27 deputies due to the annexation.
From which unincorporated neighborhoods should those additional 27 deputies be cut?
After the seven deputies are cut from the new annexation area, there will only be 38 left to serve all of White Center, Skyway, South Park, Boulevard Park, and Vashon Island. From that small pool I should cut 27 deputies, a 75% cut in police protection to the highest crime neighborhoods in King County? That’s would leave enough to maintain one deputy per shift to cover all of White Center and Boulevard Park, one deputy in Skyway, no deputies on Vashon island, and no storefront deputies.
If that’s not acceptable, which neighborhood in north and east King County should pay for this annexation with a reduction in their police service?
For the record, we were already forced to cut 86 positions in the last year and half, most of those deputy positions. This will put us up to 113 cuts in less than two years.
Enough about the cuts…let’s talk about what appear to be adds to my budget.
The budget proposal transfers 34 civilian security screeners from the Facilities Management Division to the Sheriff’s Office, along with $2.1 million to pay for them.
This transfer includes no money for supervision of these 34 screeners. They will be supervised by the two court security sergeants who already supervise 30 marshals and court deputies. This proposed budget would have the same two sergeants supervising 64 people in thirteen different locations. These are employees who provide a critical service for the safety of everyone entering a courthouse in King County.
In addition, this budget provides no monies to train the screeners, insufficient overtime funds, and over $100,000 in negative contras.
This $2.1 million “increase” to our budget masks the real cuts to public safety and makes it appear that the Sheriff’s Office isn’t being cut as much as it really is.
Bottom line, I will not take the screeners into the Sheriff’s Office and accept responsibility for a service that cannot be operated safely.
In summary, this budget cuts the Sheriff’s Office for unincorporated King County by $4.1 million, or nearly 6%. This is unsafe and it’s unacceptable, especially in light of several recent surveys that show overwhelmingly that public safety is the number one priority for the citizens of King County.”
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