New King County Sheriff Deputy training to include implicit bias and de-escalation training
September 13, 2017
(SEATTLE, WA.) -- The King County Council has agreed to Sheriff John Urquhart’s training plan for 2017,a plan that will include implicit bias and de-escalation training.
Previously, the Council cut funding for the specific training by 50% during the budget process last year.
“I’m glad the Council saw the wisdom of a well-trained police force, especially given our task of dealing with so many in mental or behavioral crisis,” said Sheriff Urquhart after Monday's vote.
In 2016, the Sheriff went to Executive Dow Constantine after a social media post by the Executive decrying the lack of training offered to police officers, and especially implicit bias training," said a statement this week from the sheriff's office.
Urquhart asked for $800,000 for training to be added to the Sheriff's Office budget for 2017-2018. Constantine agreed, and that budget request was sent to the King County Council.
However when the budget was passed by the Council in November 2016, the amount was cut by half to just $400,000, with a proviso added that the Council must approve of the training to be provided.
The Sheriff’s Office outlined planning for the training during the first half of 2017, and sent the plan to the Council for approval in July and requesting the additional monies be restored. The training plan was approved Monday.
In addition, Sheriff Urquhart is now lobbying for additional budget authority to train all patrol deputies and sergeants to the 40-hour standard for crisis intervention, or how to better deal with those in mental crisis.
Currently around 499 deputies are trained to the 8-hour standard and just over 300 to the 40 hour standard.
Under Urquhart’s plan, all would have the 40-hour training. This would be the first time any major police agency in Washington would have all their patrol police officers trained to that standard.
The Sheriff’s Office has 725 commissioned police officers.
As a result of these efforts, Executive Constantine has proposed to the Council a supplemental budget request for $400,000 for de-escalation and implicit bias training, and $361,000 to fund the additional Crisis Intervention Training.