Three finalists have been selected to become the next King County sheriff. According to a news release by the King County executive, the search committee for hiring a new sheriff has narrowed down the field from 12 applicants to three finalists: Patti Cole-Tindall, the interim King County sheriff; Charles Kimble, the police chief of Killeen, Texas; and Reginald Moorman, a major in the Atlanta Police Department.
One of the three candidates is expected to become the new permanent sheriff. The previous sheriff, Mitzi Johanknecht, was elected in 2018 and served until January 2022. In 2020, voters in King County approved a charter amendment changing the sheriff position from an elected position to an appointed one. Since Jan. 1, Cole-Tindall has served as interim sheriff until a permanent replacement is appointed.
Police accountability advocates claimed that appointing sheriffs rather than electing them would reduce their power and independence, making it easier to hold the department accountable.
Families say that the King County Sheriff’s Office has dragged its feet on accountability and oversight for the killings of Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens and Tommy Le by sheriff’s deputies in 2017.
Addressing systemic and institutional racism is expected to be a major topic in the selection process. A report released last year by the county’s public safety advisory council, which helped inform the selection process, said that “racism embedded within the county as a whole has perpetuated a systemic failure to the community, to law enforcement and others.”
Members of the public will be able to submit questions to the finalists online and attend two virtual forums on April 18 at 6 p.m. and April 21 at 9 a.m.
Read more of the Apr. 13-19, 2022 issue.