King County Sheriff's Office

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King County Sheriff's Office
Common name King County Sheriff's Office
Abbreviation KCSO
WA - King County Sheriff.jpg
Patch of the King County Sheriff's Office
Motto "Every Call Counts"
Agency overview
Formed 1852
Preceding agency Municipal Police
Employees 1,000+
Annual budget $138.5 million (2011 Adopted Budget)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* County (United States) of King County in the state of Washington, U.S.
Population 1.9 million
Governing body King County Council
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters King County Courthouse (Downtown Seattle)
Sworn members 720
Agency executive John Urquhart, Sheriff
Precincts Yes (4 including HQ)
Police boats Yes
Helicopters 6 ( 1 Bell 206B3,2 Bell UH-1H "Huey", one is a UH-1H "Plus",1 Bell 407, 2 TH-67 training helicopters)
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.
Note: The KCSO provides policing for unincorporated areas of King County, 12 contracting cities

The King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) is a local police agency in King County, Washington. It is the primary law enforcement agency for all unincorporated areas of King County, as well as 12 cities, and 2 transit agencies, which contract their police services to the KCSO. KCSO also provided Police and Fire ARFF Services to the King County International Airport (Boeing Field). KCSO also provides regional-level support services to other local law enforcement agencies such as air support and search and rescue. The department has over 1,000 employees and serves over 1.9 million citizens,[1] over 500,000 of whom live in either unincorporated areas or the 12 contract cities.

The current Sheriff of King County is John Urquhart. Urquhart was elected and sworn into office in November 2012.


Sheriffs since 1981

  • Barney Winckoski, 1981-1983 [2][3]
  • Jim Nickle (acting sheriff), 1983 [4]
  • Jim Nickle (acting sheriff), 1987-1988 [8]
  • James Montgomery, 1988-1997[9]


  • Office of the Sheriff - includes the sheriff, chief deputy, chief of staff, aides, a media relations officer, labor negotiator, the Internal Investigations Unit, and the Legal Unit.
  • Field Operations Division - manages the core functions of patrol, precinct-based detectives, crime prevention, storefronts, and reserve deputies. The subdivision into four precincts allows for better community-based responses because the precinct commanders can use local data to direct law enforcement services. Day-to-day management of contract city police and school resource officers, are the responsibility of this division.
  • Special Operations Division - provides support services to other divisions, regional services to local agencies, and contract police service to the King County Metro Transit Division (including Sound Transit Police), King County Department of Transportation (Motor Unit (disbanded 10/1/12)), and the King County International Airport ARFF Police. Services provided by this division include: a K-9 unit with search and drug detection capabilities; Air Support (Guardian One); Marine Unit; Bomb Squad; tactical training in firearms, less-lethal weapons, and defensive tactics; Tac-30 (SWAT); hostage negotiations; dignitary protection; tow coordination and appeal hearings; Search & Rescue; D.M.T. (Demonstration Management Team); instruction in and equipment for Haz-Mat; and special event planning and coordination. The division has also taken the lead in planning for homeland security concerns.
  • Criminal Investigations Division (CID) - includes the Major Crimes Section, the Special Investigations Section, and the King County Regional Criminal Intelligence Group. The division serves citizens with follow-up investigative, warrant, and intelligence-gathering services. Specifically, it investigates crimes including homicide, domestic violence, computer fraud, forgery, sexual assault, and more. CID also addresses child support enforcement issues.
  • Technical Services Division - provides the bulk of support services that are vital to efficient operations. Often, the employees in this division provide direct services to citizens as well as support services to the other divisions. Services provided by the division personnel include emergency 9-1-1 call receiving and dispatching, managing court security (County Marshals).technology development, records, contracting, civil process, personnel/hiring, payroll, purchasing, training, photography, application and administration of grants, planning, and all aspects of fingerprint identification.

Contract cities[edit]

King County, WA Contract City Patches

The following cities contract their police departments to KCSO:

Other contracts[edit]

Most of the contracts within the Sheriff's Office have their own patch and patrol car design and wear a King County Sheriff badge, while other contracts have no identity other than the King County Sheriff uniform, patch and patrol car. Those contracts that don't have their own identity are Beaux Arts Village, Skykomish, Snoqualmie Tribe, Muckleshoot Tribe (although they used to wear a tribal patch) and King County Metro Transit. King County Metro Transit Police, a unit of the sheriff's office,[13] do have their own style of patrol car specific to Metro Police, and their own uniform with the standard King County Sheriff patch. The city of North Bend contracted with the KCSO from 1973 until March 8, 2014 when the City of Snoqualmie Police Department took over the policing duties in North Bend, at that time the North Bend contract was KCSO longest standing contract.

The KCSO Motor Unit existed under contract with the King County Department of Transportation: Roads Division, which in turn provided funding for S.T.E.P (the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program) which targeted select arterials within unincorporated King County based on a history of accidents, chronic traffic problems, and high citizen complaints. The KCSO Motors Unit wore the standard KCSO patch and Class A uniform and rode Honda KCSO marked police motorcycles. The Motor Unit participated in traffic enforcement, instructor certifications, dignitary protection and escort, parades and special events, educational and school activities as well as extensive motorcycle training. This unit was disbanded October 1, 2012.[14]

Rank structure[edit]

Title Insignia
4 Gold Stars.svg
Chief Deputy
3 Gold Stars.svg
Division Chief
2 Gold Stars.svg
Contract City Chief
1 Gold Star.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
Captain insignia gold.svg
U.S. police sergeant rank (black and yellow).svg
LASD Deputy.jpg

Law Enforcement Exploring Program[edit]

The King County Sheriff's Office has a volunteer program for individuals between the ages of 14 and 21 who are interested in investigating a career in the field of law enforcement. The program is called the King County Sheriff Explorers and is a local post of the Learning for Life Exploring program. The explorer post has a rank structure similar to the Sheriff's Office. The explorers attend academies and competitions, ride-along with deputies on patrol, and receive training on a variety of law enforcement topics.

There are 4 Explorer posts in cities contracted with the King County Sheriff's Office, those being an unincorporated post in Woodinville, as well as city posts in Maple Valley, SeaTac, and Burien.

Fallen officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the King County Sheriff's Office, 15 officers have died in the line of duty.[15][16]

Officer Date of Death Details
Deputy Sheriff Wesley F. Cherry[17] Sunday, March 6, 1853 Gunfire
Sheriff Louis V. Wyckoff[18] Friday, January 20, 1882 Heart attack
Officer George W. Poor[19] Sunday, July 26, 1891 Gunfire (Accidental)
Posseman Cornelius Rowley[20] Friday, July 4, 1902 Gunfire
Deputy Sheriff Robert Carl Scott[21] Sunday, April 4, 1920 Gunfire
Deputy Sheriff Steven S. Watson[22] Monday, July 9, 1934 Gunfire
Deputy Sheriff Thomas Meehan[23] Wednesday, November 13, 1935 Gunfire
Deputy Sheriff Norman F. Silkworth[24] Friday, March 7, 1952 Gunfire
Deputy Sheriff Donald A. Armeni[25] Wednesday, September 15, 1954 Gunfire
Detective Sergeant Samuel A. Hicks[26] Thursday, June 24, 1982 Gunfire
Detective Michael L. Raburn[27] Tuesday, March 27, 1984 Stabbing
Deputy Sheriff Richard S. Cochran II[28] Wednesday, May 22, 1991 Motorcycle accident
Deputy Sheriff Mark William Brown[29] Saturday, February 27, 1999 Motorcycle accident
Deputy Sheriff Richard Anthony Herzog[30] Saturday, June 22, 2002 Gunfire
Deputy Sheriff Steve E. Cox[31] Saturday, December 2, 2006 Gunfire


In February 2012, Dustin Theoharis was shot sixteen times by a number of unnamed sheriff's deputies and Department of Corrections officers as he lay in his bed. The officers were attempting to search the home for another man when they saw Theoharis move and they opened fire. Officers responding to the shooting allegedly[citation needed] failed to gather evidence, moved items at the crime scene and acted as advocates for the shooters. An internal investigation found no wrongdoing on the part of the officers. The officers involved refused to cooperate with the investigation. The county agreed to pay $30 million to settle the matter. Sheriff John Urquhart pointed out to the press that he was not responsible for this incident as he had not yet been elected.[32][33]

In early February 2014, Deputy Patrick "K.C." Saulet was fired from the agency. The sheriff determined that Saulet, a veteran of more than twenty years' service, had threatened a journalist who was taking photographs in a public place. Press reports indicate that the officer had received over one hundred citizen complaints over the years. Only one was sustained.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ King County Sheriff - What We Do
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Carlton Smith and Tomas Guillen, The Search For The Green River Killer (New York: Onyx, 1991),159
  7. ^ Carlton Smith and Tomas Guillen, The Search For The Green River Killer (New York: Onyx, 1991),418
  8. ^ Carlton Smith and Tomas Guillen, The Search For The Green River Killer (New York: Onyx, 1991),421
  9. ^ Carlton Smith and Tomas Guillen, The Search For The Green River Killer (New York: Onyx, 1991),429
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Metro Transit Police, King County, Washington, retrieved 2013-07-07 
  14. ^ "King County Sheriff's motorcycle unit to be eliminated (Seattle Times blog)", The Seattle Times, September 6, 2012 
  15. ^ The Officer Down Memorial Page
  16. ^ "In Memoriam". King County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  17. ^ "Deputy Sheriff Wesley F. Cherry". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  18. ^ "Sheriff Louis V. Wyckoff". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  19. ^ "Officer George W. Poor". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  20. ^ "Posseman Cornelius Rowley". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  21. ^ "Deputy Sheriff Robert Carl Scott". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  22. ^ "Deputy Sheriff Steven S. Watson". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  23. ^ "Deputy Sheriff Thomas Meehan". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  24. ^ "Deputy Sheriff Norman F. Silkworth". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  25. ^ "Deputy Sheriff Donald A. Armeni". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  26. ^ "Detective Sergeant Samuel A. Hicks". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  27. ^ "Detective Michael L. Raburn". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  28. ^ "Deputy Sheriff Richard S. Cochran II". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  29. ^ "Deputy Sheriff Mark William Brown". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  30. ^ "Deputy Sheriff Richard Anthony Herzog". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  31. ^ "Deputy Sheriff Steve E. Cox". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  32. ^ Shot 16 times by officers: Innocent man files $20M suit, by John Hopperstad, July 10, 2013, Q13 Fox News
  33. ^ Innocent Man Shot 16 Times While in His Bed, by Tim Lynch, 11 July 2013,
  34. ^ KING COUNTY BLOWS OUT SHERIFF'S DEPUTY WHO THREATENED REPORTER; Officer had already racked up more than 100 complaints, February 04, 2014, Sky Valley Chronicle

External links[edit]