In a recent development, Burien Police Chief Ted Boe has raised significant concerns regarding the city’s new anti-camping ordinance, as well as his strained relationship with City Manager Adolfo Bailon, shedding light on a series of events that have unfolded within the community.

Chief Boe, in a court declaration released on Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2024 (download PDF here) submitted under the King County Sheriff’s lawsuit against the City of Burien over the constitutionality of Ordinance 832, shared his views on enforcing camping laws as well as outlined his role within the city’s law enforcement hierarchy. Reporting directly to both the City Manager and the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Patrol Division Chief, Chief Boe emphasized the collaborative relationship between Burien’s Police Department (BPD) and the broader King County law enforcement apparatus.

City Manager Threatens to Remove Chief

As news related to the lawsuit heated up last week, Chief Boe had a negative reaction with City Manager Bailon.

If you appreciate our award-winning local journalism, please…

“On March 11, the City Manager met with me and could best be described as curt in his interaction,” Boe’s testimony reads. “It is clear to me that he is angry that the County is challenging the ordinance and that he blames me for the sequence of events that culminated in the filing of this lawsuit.”

Boe said that Bailon demanded that he be removed and replaced as the City’s Police Chief.

“I have dedicated my efforts to serving this community for 6 years as its Chief and I have done my best to serve and support the objectives of City leadership, while incorporating what I understand to be the legal authorities that apply to police actions directed at unhoused persons,” Boe said. “I believe the demand that I be replaced by another Chief is directly related to me raising concerns and imposing limits on the scope of police actions directed at homeless persons in Burien.”

Burien Police Chief Ted Boe.

Police Chief Since April, 2018

Boe was selected as Burien Police Chief in April, 2018, and City Manager Bailon previously praised him, most recently in November, 2023:

“Chief Boe has cultivated tremendous success in leading his team, and we look forward to his continued success for many years to come,” Bailon said.

Boe’s testimony underscores that all 44 commissioned and professional personnel within the Burien PD are employees of King County, aligning with KCSO policies and expectations. Furthermore, Boe highlighted the BPD’s historical response to public camping issues, particularly in light of the Martin v. Boise decision, which influenced the department’s approach to homelessness and public camping.

Chief Apprehensive Over Shifts In City’s Approach to Homelessness

Chief Boe expressed growing apprehension regarding recent shifts in Burien’s approach to addressing homelessness and related public safety concerns. With the hiring of new City Manager Bailon in 2022, Chief Boe noted a change in focus towards criminalizing certain behaviors associated with homelessness, diverging from previous collaborative efforts with social service agencies. And on Mar. 7, 2024, City Manager Bailon ended the city’s relationship with REACH, a program that helped people experiencing homelessness by  connecting them to the help that they need – “everything from food and clothing to medical care, shelter, and mental health and/or substance use treatment.”

The Chief’s declaration outlined instances where the City’s directives clashed with law enforcement principles, particularly concerning the enforcement of non-criminal behaviors and the removal of unhoused individuals from public spaces. Chief Boe highlighted concerns about the legality and humanitarian implications of these directives, especially considering the lack of available shelter space for those affected.

Of particular concern was the City’s implementation of Ordinance 827, which created a new misdemeanor for unlawful public camping. Chief Boe also raised questions about the new, expanded Ordinance 832, which includes a controversial map that showed where camping would and would not be allowed (and is the basis for the Sheriff’s lawsuit).

In response to these concerns, Chief Boe communicated with KCSO leadership and made the decision to refrain from enforcing the new camping ordinance until its constitutionality could be resolved. This decision was met with tension from City Manager Bailon, culminating in threats to Chief Boe’s position within the department.

If you appreciate our award-winning local journalism, please…

Chief Reaffirms Commitment to Serving Burien

Chief Boe concluded his declaration by reaffirming his commitment to serving the Burien community and upholding legal standards in law enforcement practices. He expressed disappointment at the prospect of being replaced as Chief, but remained steadfast in his dedication to fulfilling his duties in accordance with the law.

“I have grown to love this community and it is upsetting to have this assignment taken away for doing what I not only believe is right, but what I think our courts expect me to do as a police leader in Washington,” Boe concluded in his testimony.

The unfolding situation highlights the complexities of addressing homelessness and public safety within the City of Burien, underscoring the delicate balance between legal obligations, humanitarian concerns, and municipal policies. As the legal proceedings continue, the future of Burien’s approach to homelessness remains uncertain, with implications extending beyond law enforcement to broader societal issues of housing and social welfare.

We’ve reached out to City Manager Bailon for comment on this issue, and will update with his response if/when we get it.

Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...

Join the Conversation


  1. I can say with certainly that the Chief has been responsible for a soft on crime stance since his appointment, the last six years in Burien has clearly show that. In addition the relationship with REACH has been terminated due to obvious lack of performance in the mission they were given funding for. Burien deserves a safe, strong, inviting and robust environment to thrive, coddling and rampant crime defeat that goal and serve no one.

  2. Also, the Chief says “what I not only believe is right” News flash – you do what the law says as an LEO, your feelings don’t matter.

  3. The havoc wreaked by our city manager, Bailon, is deeply troubling. This cannot come to an end soon enough. Merely claiming something is constitutional does not make it so. When will rationality prevail within our city government?

  4. Chief Boe is between a rock and a hard place. He works for King Co and has to abide by their rules. He has been very responsive to any needs we have raised in our neighborhood whereas Bailon couldn’t care less. If anyone needs to go it should be Bailon.

  5. My husband and I stand unconditionally with our city manager. He refuses to be a tool of the failed king County policies. He cares about our needs. This is rare in an environment of yes men. Thank you, Adolfo!

  6. Thank you for this update. The City Manager does NOT speak for all Burien residents. He and the City Council have been dreadfully short-sighted and, frankly immoral, in their approach to the homeless. And now Burien has ended the relationship with REACH. Why?
    The City Manager has been divisive and has put our law enforcement in the middle. Law enforcement fighst CRIME, not homeless people. If one of them breaks a law other than the unconsitutional Ordinance 832, then by all means call law enforcement.

  7. Because REACH didn’t fulfill the job they were hired to do, any employer would fire a worker who didn’t show results so why should they be exempt? If you ran a business would you pay $100K for no productivity, I doubt it so why should Burien.

  8. Many supporters of people living and dying on the streets are misinformed. My husband was an attorney for many years. He said that the sheriff had no right to disobey our ban. You are all misinterpreting the Constitution. You can’t just make things up as you go along. Our City Council won because most voters were sick and tired of your outdated and dangerous policies. I have never seen such a disregard for small businesses, either. It is quite shameful and ignorant.

  9. Chief Boe represents the best in law enforcement leadership. Burien is fortunate to have him.

  10. Almost all Burien 2023 crime statistics are significantly down so Burien PD’s approach probably cannot be characterized as “soft on crime” or “coddling rampant crime” even if they refuse to endorse NIMBY conservatives’ favorite anti-homeless policies. Kathy MCNee should stop pretending that kicking unhoused people off her lawn means they aren’t going to die somewhere else she can’t see them.

  11. Reach was a good thing and it helped a lot of people and I saw this personally. It looks like we need to fire Bailon and the whole city council and start all over. This council thinks they can make their own laws and hold power over the police. Burien claims to be a sanctuary city. Foreigners are allowed, but not our own people. Burien is facing a number of lawsuits. This will be interesting.

  12. I am in complete support of Chief Boe and his many years of loyal service to the City of Burien. The unhoused situation has pushed many in our community to say and do things that are not upholding our humanity to each other. Instead of actually finding a solution by finding a spot for the unhoused, the political and personal banter continues to separate this community. Our new City Manager seems to heading the divisiveness in the wrong direction and our community is suffering for it. Do the right thing, PLEASE and work with the community at large, not just the extra loud dissenting voices.

Leave a comment
COMMENT POLICY: Please use your real name and remain civil – no attacks. Since it's an election year, comments that campaign or complain about candidates will NOT be approved. Try writing a thoughtful, informed, intelligent comment that would make your Mom proud.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *