By Jack Mayne

The SeaTac City Council will decide on a resolution Tuesday night (Jan. 26, 2021) terminating its agreement with the King County Sheriff’s Office and to “begin the process of exploring alternative methods for providing police services.”

The change to be considered by Council is a measure prepared by City Manager Carl Cole, a retired King County Sheriff’s officer who was formerly the SeaTac police chief.

Councilmembers have said they are concerned about the recent passage of King County Charter Amendment No. 5 that changed the selection of a sheriff from a public election to a position appointed by King County Executive Dow Constantine.

The current Sheriff is Mitzi Johanknecht, a former major within the department. Johanknecht was elected in November, 2017 and was sworn in on December 28, 2017.

The agenda bill to be considered says that “staff is seeking direction from Council on how to proceed, given the timeline for implementation of alternative Police Services options will likely take two years.”

City Councilmember Peter Kwon said the move to consider termination of the contract with the King County Sheriff’s Office is just the beginning of a SeaTac City Council study of the affects of the next appointed sheriff and new appointed sheriff.

“The termination process begins with the City providing King County with a written 45-day Notice of Intent to Terminate,” says the resolution to be considered Tuesday evening. “After a minimum 45 days, the city may formally terminate the agreement by providing a minimum 18-month notice to King County. It is important to note that these time periods are minimums and depending on circumstances, implementation of an alternative to contracting with King County may take longer.”