King County Sheriff – John Urquhart

Candidate Questionnaire

1. Your name

John Urquhart

2. Candidate for:

King County Sheriff
Party Affiliation: The Office of the Sheriff is non-partisan, but my personal values align very closely with the Democratic Party.

3. Campaign information

4. If elected, what positive changes will you champion that will benefit the 31st LD?

I plan to continue the direction I have taken the Sheriff’s Office since my election in 2012.

I promised, and have delivered a culture of accountability within the Sheriff’s Office. My deputies and the public understand when malfeasance tarnishes the badge it will not be tolerated under my leadership.

I will to continue to advocate for the needs of public safety in our region when diminishing county resources that do not keep up with inflation or population growth. I will partner with regional leadership to advocate for sensible tax reform to ensure public safety can once again be adequately funded.

Perhaps most importantly, I will continue to advocate and work for equity and social justice for all King County residents.

5. What are the three most critical issues you expect to encounter in the office you are seeking?

My job as Sheriff is to reduce crime and the fear of crime. Oftentimes we find that the public’s perception does not necessarily match up with the reality of statistics. If you are a victim of crime, crime has gone up for you and crime stats have little if any meaning!

In 2012 I ran on a platform of accountability, which is always a “work in progress.” Nevertheless, we have made tremendous strides and I believe that public has great confidence in the King County Sheriff’s Office. However, what we have accomplished has also precipitated some backlash, as there are those within the ranks who believe no one should question the actions of the police. I could not disagree more. We serve the public. It is up to us, not only to convince King County residents we are doing the right thing, but to make sure we actually are! We cannot go back to the way it was before when misconduct was met with a slap on the wrist, or nothing at all. The public will not accept that. I will not accept that.

Diminishing general fund resources, which are not tied to inflation or the unprecedented level of growth our region has experienced, means critical services within the Sheriff’s Office are threatened with cuts every budget cycle. It is my goal to protect these services so we can maximize the use of our resources and keep the public safe.

6. Please give us an example of when you had to a make a critical decision that, due to its impact on others, was difficult. Tell us why you made your decision and what, if any, actions you took to mitigate any negative results.

The most critical decision I make is when I must discipline one of my employees. I never take that decision lightly, especially if it involves a termination. But if I am convinced that I cannot change the behavior of one of our employees, or his or her conduct is so egregious it violates the public’s trust, I am left with no choice. No one has a “right” to be a police officer. We all serve the public and must have their confidence. When that confidence is irretrievably lost, I have no choice.

7. What methods will you employ to communicate with your constituency on a regular basis?

I will continue to do what I have done since my election in 2012. I have always made myself available to my constituents, either by phone, in person, via social media, or through the press. Transparency is paramount and I don’t hide bad news. Few, if any, public figures are more available than I am. I also reach out proactively to groups and organizations regularly, just like I have recently done with immigration issues.

8. What other information would you like us to consider?

Promises made and promises kept. I achieved every promise I made during my 2012 campaign, whether it was accountability, transparency, or establishing a domestic violence unit, to name a few. I am very proud of my record and what has been accomplished. I look forward to the next four years as your King County Sheriff and making sure my police department continues to have the trust of the public.

I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.

Signed at: King County, WA




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