King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Sheriff Sue Rahr today announced the Executive’s action to restore funding for an important police presence at the Skyway community police storefront.
King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Sheriff Sue Rahr today announced the Executive's action to restore funding for an important police presence at the Skyway community police storefront.
"With some flexibility in the budget, restoring a police presence at the Skyway storefront is just the right thing to do," said Executive Constantine. "The storefront deputy can back up the work of police out on patrol and contribute to the overall safety of the Skyway community, by working with block watches and community groups to address public nuisances and hotspots."
The Executive directed that part of the savings from a reduction in the County's employer pension contributions be used to restore funding for the sheriff's deputy who formerly staffed the police storefront in Skyway. The state Legislature recently changed the cost-of-living formula for retirees in the oldest state pension system.
"This is great news for Skyway residents," said Sheriff Rahr. "I know community members lobbied relentlessly to restore this vital presence. It's a testament to their perseverance and the willingness of the Executive and County Council to listen and act on their concerns. We couldn't be more pleased."
"After a painful budget process last year where there were no easy cuts left, I am pleased to see that the restoration of this storefront officer has been realized for the people in the West Hill," said Metropolitan King County Council Budget Chair Julia Patterson, who represents a portion of West Hill. "The community spoke loud and clear about the increasing need for police presence and the County responded. It was the right time to make the right decision, and I thank the Executive and Sheriff for making this a priority."
"I applaud Executive Constantine and Sheriff Rahr for working to restore funding for the Skyway/West Hill Sheriff's Storefront," said County Council Chair Larry Gossett, who also represents a portion of this community. "The Skyway/West Hill residents continue to work towards building a welcoming and economically thriving community which is extremely diverse, while simultaneously emphasizing public safety, prevention and intervention, cultural understanding, and positive activities that benefit all residents."
"As we continue to see cuts to public safety services, it is vital that we fulfill our responsibility to unincorporated communities like Skyway and West Hill," said Councilmember Joe McDermott, who also represents a portion of this community. "Sheriff's storefronts are an important way for these communities to work directly with law enforcement in their neighborhoods, and I am pleased that the Executive and Sheriff decided to restore this position."
The position is funded from July 1 through the end of the year. The Executive said he plans to work with the Council on funding for continuation of the storefront deputy in next year's budget as well.
The Executive also signed a letter in support of the city of Renton's application for a U.S. Department of Justice grant that would fund 6 police officers for the Skyway/West Hill community, should annexation occur.
The state Growth Management Act sets a clear direction that large urban unincorporated areas should be incorporated or annexed into existing cities. The West Hill/Skyway community is a potential annexation area for Renton, and the city has set February 2012 as the date for the community to vote on annexation.