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caption: Patti Cole-Tindall was appointed to the role of King County Sheriff on May 3, 2022.
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Patti Cole-Tindall was appointed to the role of King County Sheriff on May 3, 2022.
Credit: King County

Body cams and crime reduction — new King County sheriff details her approach

P

atti Cole-Tindall’s name may sound familiar - she’s been the interim King County sheriff since January.

That’s when King County began its first search for an appointed sheriff, as opposed to an elected one, in 25 years.

On Tuesday, Cole-Tindall was named to the permanent position by County Executive Dow Constantine. The King County Council still needs to approve Sheriff Cole-Tindall for her to officially get the job. That process begins Wednesday, May 18.

Cole-Tindall told Soundside host Jeannie Yandel that one of her first plans is to tackle rising crime rates in King County.

"I've already started this work. It's working with other law enforcement agencies throughout the region on how best to address this," Cole-Tindall said. "But also starting to work with the communities in which we are seeing gun violence or just violence and rising crime in general, on how we might create solutions."

Cole-Tindall mentioned the NAACP and Weld Seattle, an organization that helps people returning home from prison and those recovering from addiction, as two groups with whom the Sheriff's Office has created a relationship.

Cole-Tindall said she supports having body cameras on every officer, as does the King County executive. But Cole Tindall said barriers to that goal remain — including the cost of the equipment and approval from the union for officers to wear cameras.

"Wearing a body cam is considered a working condition," she said. "So hours wages and working conditions are mandatory subjects of bargaining. And we must engage in bargaining, which is happening now, with the union. And that matter will have to be resolved along with the budget to actually start the program."

Cole-Tindall is the first nominated sheriff, as opposed to elected, in 25 years. And she said that's something that excites her.

"Now we can, in partnership with the executive, work to build out structures and systems for the sheriff's office that will meet the needs of the community," she said. "So I'm not looking at it as something that limits us actually, I think it is just the opposite."