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Protecting rights and safety: Dunn, Ferguson introduce charter amendment to make public safety the paramount duty of King County

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Metropolitan King County Councilmembers Reagan Dunn and Bob Ferguson today introduced an ordinance proposing to county voters a charter amendment that would make protecting the rights and safety of the public the paramount duty of King County government. If adopted, the charter amendment would require the county to seek to provide a well-functioning criminal justice system.

“The criminal justice system should be the top priority of local government. Without personal safety, none of the other freedoms that we enjoy can be realized. This charter amendment reaffirms the county’s commitment to preserving public safety,” said Councilmember Dunn. “It was important that Councilmember Ferguson and I did this together to show unity in our resolve to put this amendment on the ballot.

“Protecting the rights and safety of the people is always job number one of government. This charter amendment signals our commitment to keeping the administration of justice our top priority,” said Councilmember Ferguson, Chair of the Council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. “This is a fundamental value of government, and I am pleased to be partnering with Councilmember Dunn to put this amendment on the ballot.”

The King County Strategic Plan, unanimously adopted by the Council in July 2010, established delivering justice as one of the principal goals of county government. The proposed charter amendment affirms this goal and makes it the top priority. As the County continues to face budget challenges in the current economic climate, the proposed charter amendment provides clear direction that maintaining a well-functioning justice system and protecting the rights and safety of the general public is the paramount duty of King County.

In support of the criminal justice system, the proposed charter amendment calls on the County to establish service levels for the public safety and justice system and make ample provision for police, prosecution, defense, detention and court services.

If adopted by the King County Council, the charter amendment would be placed on the November ballot for a vote of the people.


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