Ex-Sheriff's Spokesman Lays Out Accountability Platform

By Erica C. Barnett April 24, 2012

In what may be the longest candidacy announcement ever (four single-spaced pages, accompanied by a lengthy separate bio and full of underlined phrases), former King County sheriff's department spokesman John Urquhart laid out his cop accountability platform for his race for county sheriff this morning. Urquhart, who served as spokesman for two Republican sheriffs, Dave Reichert and Sue Rahr, announced this morning that he's running against Rahr's successor, Republican Steve Steve Strachan, whom the King County Council appointed to the job after Rahr stepped down earlier this year.

Urquhart's platform---which asserts up front that "our communities do not want an 'occupying' force"---includes the following promises:

• Staffing up the county's internal investigations unit, which currently includes just two detectives "with a combined experience of only a few months handling misconduct investigations";

• Removing patrol officers' authority to investigate citizen complaints about officers, a practice for which the US Justice chided the Seattle Police Department;

• Ensuring that investigations into officer-involved shootings are done on a timely basis. "There were four officer-involved shootings in 2011—two fatal—where no Shooting Review Board has taken place until—coincidentally perhaps—yesterday, despite the policy requirement," Urquhart's statement says; and

• Forming a use-of-force review board to determine whether use-of-force incidents by officers could have been avoided and what steps need to be taken, such as retraining.

Additionally, "and very importantly," Urquhart said, "it’s time for sensible reform to our drug laws, specifically the use and possession of marijuana."

The election this November will be to fill out the rest of Rahr's term, which ends at the end of 2013.
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