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In 2020 King County committed to addressing racism as a public health crisis by investing in community wellness to combat longstanding disproportionate impacts experienced by low income and BIPOC communities—impacts further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

All of King County government is committed to implementing a racially equitable response to this crisis, centering on our communities. Intentional and meaningful community engagement is foundational to King County’s success in living its value of leading with racial justice and effectively becoming a more anti-racist government and region.

We can reimagine public safety

In 2021 residents across King County—particularly in urban unincorporated King County—shared their lived experiences and ideas for reimagining public safety via community meetings, focus groups, and a comprehensive reimagining public safety survey.

In 2022, King County will host community workshops to help choose a pilot program that will prioritize personal and community wellness rather than a traditional police response.

Our solutions must focus on meeting the needs of our communities to ensure safety and well-being — not just traditional methods of policing and criminal justice.

We can create alternatives that are restorative, less traumatic, more equitable, and more successful.

We have an opportunity to create something new and better. We as a county must approach public safety with a commitment to focus on race and social equity. Together we can create meaningful change that improves public safety beyond the role of policing and detention and invests in community wellness and care as defined by communities like yours.

Your contribution

King County thanks residents for sharing their lived experiences, ideas, and perspectives and for investing their time and energy to share how King County might improve and enhance public safety responses in the urban unincorporated areas. Understanding the community’s diverse experiences, expectations, and aspirations is critical to successfully creating and sustaining holistic communities where all residents are safe.

Key Findings From The Reimagining Public Safety Survey and Outreach Show:

  • Residents want a well-staffed King County Sheriff’s Office to address slow response times and increase the amount of police presence they see in their neighborhoods.
  • When in an emergency or other unsafe situation that requires a professional response, residents want a specialized approach to finding a resolution; an alternative response needs to be an option.
  • Residents stated a belief that Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians are not best equipped to handle behavioral health issues. Innovation is needed to coordinate an optimal response with other departments and agencies.

You can see the results from the Reimagining Public Safety Survey and Outreach in the full report here.

Staff contact for more information: Rashd Ibrahim, ribrahim@kingcounty.gov, 206-477-3263

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography