The King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) announced Thursday, June 4, 2020 that it is seeking community observations and input about community-police interactions with the King County Sheriff’s Office during recent protests.
OLEO oversees the King County Sheriff’s Office, which contracts police services for the City of Burien.
In partnership with the King County Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution, OLEO says it also welcomes requests for convening space for mediation and healing related to these issues.
“Across communities – we see a profound and moving expression of grief and frustration – we hear fervent cries for accountability,” said OLEO Director Deborah Jacobs. “The role of oversight is to gather as much information as possible about what’s taking place on the ground and use information about what’s working and what isn’t to press for changes in policy and practice that help improve conditions.”
Here’s more from the county:
The Sheriff’s Office has provided support to the Seattle Police in downtown protests, as well as managing protest activities in some of its partner cities, such as Covington. OLEO invites individuals across King County who observe or experience how Sheriff’s Office personnel engage during protest and civil disobedience activities to share information about their performance, whether critical or complementary. Information can be submitted anonymously by anyone – you do not have to be involved to report a commendation, concern or complaint. OLEO accepts community feedback in any language, regardless of age, background, or citizenship status. OLEO forwards complaints about the actions of Sheriff’s Office personnel to the Sheriff’s Office for formal investigation.
Law enforcement oversight is a tool for police accountability, typically established by demand of the public, to review the actions of police agencies and make informed recommendations to change. How police manage public protest has been a focus of oversight in many locations. Public observations and feedback provide vital data, particularly when a department, like the Sheriff’s Office, is not currently equipped with dash or body worn cameras.
With the King County Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution, OLEO facilitates mediation between law enforcement and members of the public. OLEO also welcomes requests to hold space for dialogue or mediation surrounding police-community conflict. “We must acknowledge the immediate and intergenerational trauma experienced in community, and particularly by African American people,” said Jacobs. “We stand ready to convene people in pain from these events and seeking change in police practices.”
Community members can contact OLEO at [email protected] or at 206-263-8870, or complete an online complaint form at: https://www.kingcounty.gov/independent/law-enforcement-oversight/complaints.aspx.
Learn more about OLEO and the complaint process: https://www.kingcounty.gov/independent/law-enforcement-oversight/about/FAQ.aspx