Sheriff’s office reforms policy, seeks approval from 8 Can’t Wait
information from King County Sheriff
After the tragic and troubling death of George Floyd on May 25th in Minneapolis, King County Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht ordered a further review of the department's Use of Force policies to look for opportunities to clarify or strengthen them.
Although the King County Sheriff’s Office made considerable changes to their Use of Force policies last year, they asked Campaign Zero to audit KCSO policies against the 8 Can’t Wait.
The 8 procedures were developed by Campaign Zero, a nationwide police reform campaign to reduce Use of Force and police brutality. 8 Can’t Wait consists of:
1. Ban Chokeholds and Strangleholds
2. Require De-escalation
3. Require exhausting all reasonable means before resorting to deadly force
4. Ban Shooting At Moving Vehicles
5. Require Use of Force Continuum
6. Require Comprehensive Reporting (of force)
7. Duty to Intervene
8. Require Verbal Warnings Before Shooting
On June 11, 2020, Campaign Zero determined that items 1 through 6 are already contained in existing policy in our General Orders Manual (GOM). The General Orders Manual sets forth professional standards for the performance, behavior, and service of our employees.
Although KCSO already complies with 7 and 8 in practice, KCSO agreed that policies need clarification on these points. KCSO reached out to union leadership, who fully supported the Sheriff’s efforts and promptly agreed with the need to clarify policy. Collaboration with the King County Police Officers’ Guild (KCPOG) and the Puget Sound Police Managers’ Association (PSPMA) and the King County Sheriff’s Office Marshals’ Guild (KCSOMG) resulted in policy revisions to require a Duty in Intervene (GOM 6.00.055) when a member of KCSO observes another member using force that is clearly beyond what is reasonable under the circumstances and Verbal Warnings (GOM 6.00.045) before discharging a firearm. We accomplished these revisions in only 5 working days.
The King County Sheriff’s Office is grateful to Campaign Zero and union leadership. This is an example of how collaboration can work to effect change.
On Monday, June 22nd, we will send our revised policies to Campaign Zero for feedback and final sign off.
We look forward to more opportunities to collaborate on issues that improve transparency and accountability. Another recent project that increases transparency on use of force can be found at https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/sheriff/on-line-reporting/dash-boards.aspx This interactive dashboard contains information on all uses of force from 2014-2019.