John Urquhart has served the citizens of Washington State as a police officer for over 36
years, the last 24 as a full time member of the King County Sheriff’s Office. His career has included stints
as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Master Police Officer, street-level vice/narcotics detective,
public information officer and administrative aide to Sheriff Dave Reichert and Sheriff Sue Rahr. He has
investigated everything from property crimes to homicides. He was selected by his peers as the Officer of
the Year at Precinct #4 in Burien, and by Sheriff James Montgomery as the Officer of the Year for the entire
John grew up in North Seattle and attended Ingraham High School where he was class president and then
student body president the following year. After high school he attended the University of Washington.
John paid for his college education by operating a painting company he started in high school, then
eventually owned and operated a janitorial business that included banks and several office buildings as
After graduating from the School of Business with a Bachelor’s Degree, John began his next endeavor and
started a company in Bellevue wholesaling electrical construction material. He grew this very successful
business to four locations and about 50-60 employees before selling the company.
John joined the Sheriff’s Office (then the King County Police) in 1988. Eventually John became the
public information officer, working for both Dave Reichert and Sue Rahr. He had a reputation, not only
with the press but also with the community, for being honest, straight-forward, and transparent as he
provided both information about the good and the bad. A Seattle Times article in September of 2011 called
him “…blunt speaking…known for his honesty and ruthless wit….who sees the media as an integral part of
the democratic process”.
But John was much more than just the “face of the department”. He was a trusted advisor and confidant
to both Reichert and Rahr, on a par with any other member of their command staff. John had input and
provided advice on all aspects of the operation of the Sheriff’s Office from budget matters to policy issues.
He also worked with the King County Council and their staff, as well as the Executive’s Office. Sheriff Rahr
has said of John, “Most of the positive reputation I enjoy as an elected official and the leader of the Sheriff’s
Office is a result of his guidance and advice…..”. And, “He’s one of my most trusted advisors…”.
John “retired” in early 2012, as he put it, to “pursue other interests”. However he continues as the
president of the S.H.E.R.I.F.F Fund, a 501(c)(3) started by Dave Reichert almost 20 years ago dedicated
to providing cash grants to members of the criminal justice community with a short-term need due to
unforeseen life circumstances.
John lives on Mercer Island with Shelley, his wife of almost 37 years. They have a Chesapeake Bay
Retriever named Lulu. They have two daughters, age 26 and 29. One is an ICU nurse in New York City
and the other works at an early-learning center in Seattle. John and Shelley like to ski in Idaho and enjoy
spending time on the beach in Hawaii……that is when John is not remodeling his house, something he’s
been working on for 25+ years!