“It’s critical that we have a fully operational facility in South King County so that officers can focus on addressing crime instead of spending time in traffic on their way to Seattle.”
StoryToday the Metropolitan King County Council unanimously approved the 2017-2018 County Budget, which included funding to continue felony bookings at the Maleng Regional Justice Center (RJC) in Kent.
“As Budget Chair, public safety and restoring the cuts to the Maleng Regional Justice Center were among my top priorities,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, whose district includes Kent. “It’s critical that we have a fully operational facility in South King County so that officers can focus on addressing crime instead of spending time in traffic on their way to Seattle.”
Individuals arrested in South King County for felony crimes can be processed and housed at the RJC, a practice that will continue under the adopted budget. A previous budget proposal eliminated bookings in Kent beginning in 2018 as one cost-saving measure to address the budget shortfall. Under this earlier proposal, officers would have had to transport inmates to the King County Jail in Seattle after arrest.
“I offer my thanks to Councilmember Upthegrove and the rest of the King County Council for their decision to keep booking open at the Maleng Regional Justice Center,” said Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas. “This will be extremely helpful in keeping our communities safe and also will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement in South King County.”
“I appreciate the County’s reconsideration to allow the continued booking of felony crimes at the RJC by our police officers. This practice was a commitment made by the County to our community when construction of the RJC was originally proposed. By booking felonies in Kent, and by not spending time on our freeways transporting felons to Seattle, our officers are better able to serve residents here at home,” said Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke.
The $11.4 billion adopted budget continues to reaffirm King County’s commitment to Metro Transit, public safety and equity and social justice. The budget includes 300,000 new hours in transit service, restores all proposed to cut to the sheriff’s office and provides funding for programs such as a new immigrant and refugee task force and programs to reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system.