Questions and answers
Cities retain full control of police resources and programs when partnering with the King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO). City managers and city councils continue to set budget priorities for their police department, determine the police staffing count, and direct their city police chief in the implementation of the city’s crime-fighting and community program goals.
Partner cities design their own police vehicle markings. So, a city would retain their vehicle markings if desired. The uniform colors our partner cities have historically used are black and/or dark blue, with each city designing its own police patch consistent with the city’s unique branding desires.
All civil service sworn officers and non-commissioned professional staff would become KCSO employees (per RCW 41.14.250 and RCW 41.14.260) provided that: (1) the city’s chosen staffing level allows; and (2) they meet the minimum hiring standards and the appropriate probationary training program set by KCSO policy.
If the city’s chosen staffing level is less than the number of eligible transferring officers and/or professional staff members, the number of employees needed to fill the chosen staffing level will be filled in order of seniority. The remaining employees will be placed at the top of the eligibility list according to their existing seniority for their classification and hired with King County when the next vacancy becomes available.
For sworn employees: We will encourage the city’s sworn employees to stay in their city for at least a one year probationary period, after which they may apply for other assignments or promotion, as long as they fit the qualifications for such assignments.
Rank and tenure of existing sworn officers who transfer to KCSO will be based upon the number of years they have worked in that particular city (not their entire law enforcement career). Their seniority within KCSO will be ranked accordingly (per RCW 41.14.260). If there is not an equivalent KCSO position (e.g. assistant police chief), transferring officers may join KCSO in a slightly different role than the one they previously had in the city. Pay level for transferring sworn officers (just as with a lateral hire) may be commensurate with experience, based on a command staff interview.
For non-sworn professional employees: A city may elect to keep a professional staff member as a city employee, rather than transfer them to KCSO as part of the police partnership. In this case, the city would offer this city employment position to the employee.
Cities can opt to retain their current chief of police, who would become a member of the Sheriff's Office. Or they may interview and select their chief from a pool of qualified KCSO candidates. The size of the city will have some bearing on the rank the chief is given within the KCSO rank structure.