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Dunn proposes “Priority Commission” to examine criminal justice funding


Metropolitan King County
Council News

Dunn proposes “Priority Commission” to examine criminal justice funding



Metropolitan King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn today introduced a motion that calls for the creation of a “Priority Commission” to look into ways of funding King County’s criminal justice system. The proposed motion calls for the Executive to form a panel consisting of stakeholders in the criminal justice system as well as from domestic violence, sexual assault and environmental groups.

“King County’s revenue sources are fundamentally broken,” Dunn said. “It doesn’t make any sense that this government has $19 million to buy a gravel pit but doesn’t have the money to fund its criminal justice system.”

The Priority Commission would include representatives from the Sheriff’s Office, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Superior Court, District Court, the Office of Public Defense, the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention. The commission would also have representatives from domestic violence, sexual assault and environmental organizations.

The Commission would be charged with looking at the existing criminal justice system for efficiencies and areas where the county lacks proper services. It would also look at ways to fund the criminal justice system including a plan that is “tax neutral” and could be put before voters in 2011.

“The people told us in November that they won’t approve new taxes right now. I don’t believe they meant to say that the criminal justice system is not important,” Dunn said. “They weren’t given the opportunity to prioritize where their tax dollars should go. I think they should be given that option.”

The motion calls on the Executive to create the Commission by February 28. The Commission would report back to the King County Council by May 31, 2011.

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