A patrol deputy is probably the person most people think of first when they hear the words “Sheriff’s Office.” It’s easy to picture the distinctive green uniform, the marked car, and the caring, professional deputy.
Despite the name, patrol deputies do much more than patrol the neighborhoods in their districts. They respond to calls, work on projects to improve neighborhoods, conduct traffic enforcement, and follow-up on the cases that they write. Our deputies work with citizens to understand neighborhood problems and find ways to cooperatively improve the situation. In addition, we encourage deputies to show initiative by independently identifying problems and possible solutions.
Each deputy is assigned to a patrol district, and many of them remain in the same area for years so that they can meet the people and know each community’s unique needs. Sometimes, due to limited staffing, a deputy will cover more than one district. Unlike some departments, we do not strive to meet a particular level of deputies per population (generally referred to as "officer per thousand"). Instead, we consider many factors such as number of calls, geography, safety factors, response time, time for problem solving, backup time, and prisoner transport.
Patrol in Contract Jurisdictions
Twelve cities, the Muckleshoot Tribe, Metro Transit, and others contract with the Sheriff's Office. Each entity determines how many patrol officers it will provide to its residents, businesses, and visitors. Officers who work in the contract jurisdictions are Sheriff's Office employees, but also enforce municipal ordinances and operate as a member of a unique city police department.