Today the King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) reported to the Law & Justice Committee progress in its work with the King County Sheriff’s Office. Specifically, the Sheriff’s Office agreed to adopt a number of OLEO’s recommendations related to investigations of uses of force, complaint classifications, and how it responds to the public after a critical incident. These recommendations were presented by OLEO in three separate reports during 2018.
“We are grateful for the Sheriff’s Office’s consideration of the recommendations offered in our report,” said OLEO Director Deborah Jacobs. “Adoption of policies in areas of agreement will have significant impact on how community members experience the Sheriff’s office when addressing complaints.”
OLEO provided the Law & Justice Committee with a memo describing some of the key recommendations the Sheriff’s Office accepted or rejected. Among the recommendations the Sheriff’s Office agreed to adopt are:
Report: Transparency and Media Relations in High Profile Cases
The Sheriff’s Office response indicates that it has operated with the spirit of the recommendations within OLEO’s report since the current administration took office, and that it intends to adopt some of the report recommendations by October 1. Specifically, it indicated that it would adopt the report recommendations on correcting inaccurate information, affirmatively providing information to the public, specifying that officer-involved shootings are “high profile,” and having systems and practices for communicating with ethnic media. OLEO shared its own ethnic media list with the Sheriff’s Office to help it achieve these communications.
Report: Use of Force Complaint Processing in the King County Sheriff’s Office
Overall, it appears that the Sheriff’s Office agrees with and is in the stages of implementing most of OLEO’s recommendations contained in its 2018 Use of Force Complaint Processing Report, as well as OLEO’s recommendations provided through review of its practices related to Use of Force Reporting, Investigation, and Review.
Implementation of all report recommendations will help ensure that the Sheriff’s Office’s processing of Use of Force (UOF) complaints is clear, more transparent, and contains internal quality controls. This will help lead to greater public credibility in Sheriff’s Office administrative investigations of its employees.
Report: Internal Investigations Complaint Classifications Review of the King County Sheriff’s Office
The Sheriff’s Office convened a workgroup to review OLEO’s 2018 Complaint Classifications report and recommend implementation possibilities to the Sheriff. The workgroup proposed some significant changes such as that “minor” investigations (one that cannot result in property loss to the subject employee) be processed at the worksite without being routed first to IIU, and that less serious use of force investigations (non-complaint generated) be reviewed by the Advance Training Unit rather than the Internal Investigations Unit. There are a number of other recommendations that still need discussion.
“We hope to work with the Sheriff’s Office on implementation of those recommendations it pledged to adopt, and continue the dialogue on recommendations it rejected,” said Jacobs. “We’re pleased to receive this response and thank the King County Council for seeing the importance of ensuring that OLEO’s recommendations were considered.”
At the Law & Justice meeting, OLEO also presented its biennium workplan which includes:
- Following up on the implementation of the recommendations in OLEO’s 2018 reports (above)
- Improving systems and collaboration with the Sheriff’s Office
- Conducting systemic reviews of critical incidents
- Providing recommendations on use of confidential informants
- Further developing practices of OLEO’s certification review program
- Monitoring critical incident scenes and investigations
- Establishing policies for conducting independent investigations
- Expanding reach of OLEO’s Community Engagement
The above is a release from the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents.