Burien will see an increased focus on reducing gang violence and creating greater access to community services as part of the $11.7 billion 2019-2020 County Budget unanimously adopted by the King County Council on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.
“Public safety is a responsibility I take seriously. The steps taken in the budget will increase our ability to prevent and respond to crime in our South County cities through innovative and effective programing,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who represents Burien on the County Council and is chair of the council’s Budget Committee.
Burien is still mourning the murder of Gabriela Reyes Dominguez, tragically killed  in an apparent gang shooting on Sept. 19. The adopted budget provides $842,280 to the King County Sheriff’s office for additional positions to staff the new gang task force. As part of this task force, the Sheriff’s office will conduct community engagement efforts to help prevent/reduce gang violence.
The budget also implements programming that helps create equitable access to our courts system.
The budget expands the nationally recognized Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program to the City of Burien to facilitate treatment and community services. LEAD allows law enforcement officers to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug or prostitution activity to community-based services, instead of jail and prosecution. Getting people the help they need allows them to become productive members of society.
The budget also expands community court, an alternative to traditional district court that focuses on identifying and addressing the challenges facing some defendants to help reduce the possibility of them reoffending. Started in Redmond, the 2019-2020 Budget will allow community court to also expand to the City of Burien.
The adopted budget also increases the county’s commitment to increasing the affordability and accessibility of housing for working families in Burien. The budget includes $100 million invested in housing projects, including $3 million dedicated to projects close to transit in Burien.
The public safety portion of the new budget includes:
- Proposed new Gang Unit funding along with a proviso requiring the Sheriff to conduct community engagement efforts to prevent and reduce gang violence.
- Adds a Background Check Detective to help the Sheriff fill vacancies more quickly.
- Also provides resources to comply with HB 1022, as well as requiring responses to Office of Law Enforcement Oversight reports from 2018, and requires safety gear for traffic enforcement officers.
- Establishes a South King County Pretrial Services program with $1.3M in funding, including support from King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency fund for behavioral health services.
- Requires the Executive to provide a plan for how the Zero Youth Detention Initiative will address the school-to-prison pipeline and incorporate successful anti-gang youth programs, principles and strategies.