John Urquhart has served as your King County Sheriff since November of 2012.  He has 41 years of police experience, including the last 28 years as a full-time member of the 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 aid to Sheriff Dave Reichert and Sheriff Sue Rahr. He has investigated everything from shoplifting 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 Sheriff’s Office.

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 clients.

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 60-70 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, “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 over 41 years. They have a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Lulu. They have two daughters.  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!

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