FAQs For Public Disclosure
A public record is any record containing information relating to the conduct of government business, which is prepared, owned, used or retained by an agency. This includes, but is not limited to, electronic media, paper, e-mail, microfilm, audiotapes, videotapes, magnetic tapes, and disks (CDs/DVDs). A valid public records request is a request for a specific and identifiable public document. A request for general information is not a valid public records request. You do not have to identify the records you want with exact precision, but the more information you are able to give us will help us to locate your records quickly and provide them to you in a timely manner. A request for “any and all records” may take much longer to process than a request for specific records. Please contact our staff to assist you in clarifying your request.
(also known as the General Orders Manual or GOM)
The policies published in this manual have been adopted for the guidance of the members of the King County Sheriff's Office. Department members have the responsibility to know and abide by these policies and procedures.
Historical documents are available at the following links:
Pursuant to King County Ordinance 18949 and the Public Records Act, RCW 42.56.120, the KCSO is allowed to charge the following fees in response to Public Records Act requests:
If the requested records are already in electronic format, there is no fee
Hard Copy Records:
The fee is 15 cents a page for hard (paper) copy
The fee is 10 cents a page for scanning (electronic) hard (paper) copy records
The fee is 5 cents / each 4 electronic files for records uploaded to email, or cloud-based data storage service, or other electronic delivery
The fee is 10 cents per gigabyte for records transmitted in electronic format
Digital Storage Media:
The fee is the actual cost of storage media or devices (i.e. Thumb Drive, External Hard Drive, CD, etc.)
The fee is the actual cost of containers or envelopes used to mail copies
The fee is the actual cost of postage or delivery charges
Custom Service Fee:
The fee is the actual cost of when the request would require the use of IT expertise or third party customized access charges
Please contact us for fees associated with printed color copies of photographs
Once the scope of a request has been determined, and research completed to identify all responsive records, requesters can expect an estimate of fees associated with their request, if any. The KCSO may require a 10 percent deposit.
The day the request is received does not count, nor do weekends or holidays observed by the County.
Within five business days after receiving your request, we will:
- Provide the record(s) (or an installment of the records);
- Or acknowledge your request and give you a reasonable estimate of how long it will take to respond;
- Or deny the request in writing, stating the reasons for the denial (this could also include a denial of part of your request and a granting of the remainder).
We process requests in the order in which they are received as closely as possible. Once the records have been collected, we will notify you of any copying charges. Any records or portion of records that are exempt from disclosure will be withheld or redacted. We will specify the exemption that applies to any documents withheld or redactions made. We may provide you an estimate of time for further response or provide documents in installments. Factors may include, for example, time needed to:
- Get clarification from you if necessary.
- Search for records. More time may be needed if request is large or complex.
- Assemble and review records.
- Provide notice to affected third persons/agencies if necessary.
- Prepare an exemption log if necessary.
- Perform other essential agency functions, considering agency resources including staff availability.
If we cannot produce all the records at once (particularly for large requests), we will provide records in installments. If the records have an associated per page fee, we may request a deposit up front (not to exceed 10 percent).
Please note, that for security and verification purposes, you may need to pick up the materials in person and present valid identification.
Please note, response to public disclosure requests may be slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic conditions and mitigation measures. Thank you for your patience.
Please click here for an important message about not coming to the King County Courthouse in person to make your public disclosure request.
RCW 42.56.520 provides that a response to a request for public records must be made by the agency within five business days. Within five business days (excluding holidays) after receiving a request, we will:
- Acknowledge receipt of the request and provide a reasonable estimate for further response; or
- Fulfill the request; or
- Provide an internet address and link to the records on our website; or
- Seek clarification; or,
- Deny the request with an accompanying written statement of the specific reasons.
Each record must be reviewed to determine whether it is exempt from production. Most exemptions are listed in RCW 42.56.230-42.56.480. However, certain statutes outside public records laws also provide exemptions from disclosure or prohibitions on disclosure of particular records. When the King County Sheriff’s Office denies a request for production of a public record, the specific statutory exemption on which the denial is based must be identified along with a brief explanation of how the exemption applies.
To obtain these documents, you may contact King County Superior Court by going to:
and King County District Court by going to:
You may contact the Washington State Patrol (WSP) WATCH program for more information. A WSP background check will contain criminal history conviction records for the state of Washington.
You may contact the Washington State Patrol WATCH program by going to:
To determine if you have a warrant you may go to King County Superior Court or any law enforcement agency with proper identification to inquire if a warrant exists. Warrant information is not available over the telephone.
You may contact the Superior Court Clerk’s office at the following: https://kingcounty.gov/courts/clerk.aspx