The King County Sheriff's Office has been working with the Department of Justice for the last 12 months to provide them with information on our hiring practices. This was at the request of DOJ to facilitate their analysis of our hiring systems beginning in 2009. The goal of their analysis is to identify any possible hiring “pattern or practices” that may have the effect of discriminating against women during the years between 2009 and 2016.
The Sheriff’s Office has diligently worked to provide DOJ with all the relevant historical data for their analysis and investigation, including test result from the external company providing the civil service test for new recruits, National Testing Network (NTN.) In addition, King County Human Resources has well as the Sheriff's Office has provided other data, including video, writing and physical ability test scores, automatic disqualifiers, minimum qualifications, Oral Board scores, Pass/Fail on the psychological test, polygraph tests, and final disposition for all applicants for entry level deputy positions during that time frame.
Based on questions from DOJ as of December, 2016, it appears their inquiry now specifically relates to the physical ability test, as administered by the testing service as part of the initial entrance exam. However the Sheriff’s Office does not use that physical ability test as part of the entry testing, and hasn’t since May 2016. Instead, Sheriff’s Office personnel work with candidates over the course of the application process to prepare them for the physical abilities test that the state police academy requires before entry into the basic law enforcement academy. The Sheriff’s Office has achieved positive results from this new process.
During the first quarter of 2017, 46 percent of all new deputy hires by the King County Sheriff’s Office have been female and/or persons of color. This positive outcome is a reflection of Sheriff Urquhart’s goal to create a police department that mirrors the community it serves.