skip navigation
Support KUOW

Audit Slams King County Sheriff's Department

Patricia Murphy

An independent audit released today found problems in the King County Sherriff's Office. The most serious issues were found in the office's Internal Investigations Unit.


Consultants say the Sheriff's office lacks accountability with regards to the way it receives, manages and investigates complaints. For example, auditors examined about 20 percent of the of cases handled in 2011 by the office's Internal Investigation Unit. They found the majority lacked documentation needed to explain the findings.

King County Sheriff Steve Strachan told the County Council's Government Accountability, Oversight and Financial Performance Committee that he's committed to making the changes necessary to improve the office and the public's trust. Strachan says he's aware that some changes will probably require some intense negotiations with the King County Police Officers Guild.

Strachan: "You know the guild has a role to play, I respect the role that they play. I respect the role that they play to advocate for the things that they advocate for: their members. As the sheriff, I wanna make sure that they're treated fairly. But I have to make sure that the public is treated very fairly as well."

Sherriff Strachan has only been on the job a few months. He replaced Sue Rahr when she left to become director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

Consultants made 16 recommendations.

Strachan presented the council with a plan of action for making changes and will report bi–weekly on the office's progress.

Patricia Murphy, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW