Public safety highlights budget priorities for South King County.
Burien will see an increased focus on reducing gang violence and creating greater access to community services as part of the $11.7 billion 2019-2020 County Budget unanimously adopted by the Metropolitan King County Council.
“Public safety is a responsibility I take seriously. The steps taken in the budget will increase our ability to prevent and respond to crime in our South County cities through innovative and effective programing,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who represents Burien on the County Council and is chair of the council’s Budget Committee.
Burien is still mourning the murder of Gabriela Reyes Dominguez, killed in an apparent gang shooting. The adopted budget provides $842,280 to the King County Sherriff’s office for additional positions to staff the new gang task force. As part of this task force, the Sherriff’s office will conduct community engagement efforts to help prevent/reduce gang violence.
The budget also implements programming that helps create equitable access to our courts system.
The budget expands the nationally recognized Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program to the City of Burien to facilitate treatment and community services. LEAD allows law enforcement officers to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug or prostitution activity to community-based services, instead of jail and prosecution. Getting people the help they need allows them to become productive members of society.
The budget also expands community court, an alternative to traditional district court that focuses on identifying and addressing the challenges facing some defendants to help reduce the possibility of them reoffending. Started in Redmond, the 2019-2020 Budget will allow community court to also expand to the City of Burien.
The adopted budget also increases the county’s commitment to increasing the affordability and accessibility of housing for working families in Burien. The budget includes $100 million invested in housing projects, including $3 million dedicated to projects close to transit in Burien.