Auditor releases report on misconduct and use of force in King County Sheriff's Office
July 13, 2011 · 5:46 PM
The King County Auditor’s Office has released the results of an analysis covering the number and seriousness of misconduct, use of force incidents and complaints in the King County Sheriff's Office over a five year period.
The report also addresses the outcomes of complaint investigations.
In general, the use of force complaint rates were less than the national averages reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
The auditor’s report covers the period from 2006 through 2010, and compares it to the previous their previous analysis from 2000 to 2005.
Among other findings, the auditor found:
The number of use of force complaints in the sheriff's office during the period was 1.3 per 100 sworn officers. The national average was 6.6 complaints overall, and 9.5 complaints per 100 for large police agencies.
The number of officers without any complaints whatsoever was found to be 96 percent. (In 2010 the sheriff's office had 706 sworn deputies.)
The sheriff’s office significantly improved its policies and processes for investigating misconduct and use of force complaints to promote transparency, consistency, and accountability.
The percentage of sustained complaints investigated by the Internal Investigations Unit was 52 percent for the five year period. This was a significant increase from the 21percent rate during the previous period. The sheriff's office attributes this change to more rigorous compliance in investigating complaints.
The analysis found the total complaint rates for the five year period were less than the earlier five years, 2000 to 2005.
During the five year period, 70 percent of sustained complaints were generated internally, i.e. were filed by sheriff's office employees.
The report noted the sheriff's office had installed a comprehensive database in the interim, which allowed for improved tracking and reporting of complaint issues and statistics.
The King County Auditor's Office conducts audits and studies that identify and recommend effective ways to improve county government. Audits are conducted at the request of the King County Council, and the office complies with applicable Government Auditing Standards. The office works on a broad range of issues that affect the citizens of services of King County.