King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn introduced legislation that would convene a regional conversation around bolstering public safety and responding to drastic increases in crime.
StoryToday King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn introduced legislation that would convene a regional conversation around bolstering public safety and responding to drastic increases in crime.
“This summit is about bringing all players in our regional justice system to one table to work through fundamental disagreements related to policing and jail policy,” said Dunn. “Frankly, as it stands, the various aspects that make up this system—our elected leaders, police, jails, and courts—are not functioning coherently with each other, and it’s the everyday folks who are suffering the repercussions. It's time to come together to carve a path out of the quagmire and get back to providing for basic public safety.”
Dunn's motion, if passed, would form a public safety and criminal justice summit, with the goal of developing and implementing strategies to reduce crime and enhance public safety.
The summit would include the King County Prosecutor’s Office; King County Superior Courts; the King County Sheriff’s Office; the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention; Cities that contract with King County for law enforcement services; the City of Seattle; the Sound Cities Association; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This legislation comes as the region continues to see record shootings, murders and homicides, and property crimes. According to the King County Prosecutors Office homicides and murders have spiked 45% since 2019, and shootings are up 54% compared to the four-year average.
Even as crime has increased, prosecution has slowed, jail bookings have been restricted, and many police departments across the region are struggling to hire enough officers to fill their vacant positions. Pending felonies at the King County Superior Court have risen from an average of 3,211 in February 2019 to 4,820 2022.
The legislation will be referred to the King County Law and Justice Housing and Human Services Committee next Tuesday where it will await a hearing.