Under new leadership, zero deputies were patrolling Skyway between the hours of 2:00am and 10:00am
SEATTLE, WA – “The Sheriff’s Office plan to re-staff the Skyway/West Hill area with deputies was the right decision. The reasoning behind that decision doesn’t matter. But it’s clear community pressure did have an effect”, said John Urquhart.
“In my 24 years with the Sheriff’s Office, there have always been at least two deputies patrolling Skyway 24 hours per day,” said Urquhart. “15,000 people live in Skyway; it is unconscionable for the Sheriff’s Office to remove their sole police presence.”
Until this afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office relied on deputies patrolling White Center to respond to 911 calls from Skyway in the hours between 2:00am and 10:00am. This has resulted in longer response times from police and firefighter units, leaving citizens more vulnerable.
“That policy could cost someone their life,” said Urquhart. “When paramedics respond to a ‘hot call’ where someone has been shot, stabbed, or beaten, they can’t begin treating a victim until the area has been deemed safe by a police officer.” There had been a clear increase in the time it took deputies to respond, and therefore slowed the fire department’s response to many incidents, according to Fire District 20.
Skyway ranks second for calls for service among the areas the Sheriff’s Office patrols. White Center ranks first.
John Urquhart has been a commissioned police officer for over 36 years, the last 24 full-time with the King County Sheriff’s Office. He has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, master police officer, plain clothes vice & narcotics detective, sergeant, and the Sheriff’s spokesman. John also serves as the President of the S.H.E.R.I.F.F. Fund, a non-profit dedicated to providing cash grants to members of the criminal justice community with a short-term need due to unforeseen life circumstances. John resides on the Eastside with Shelley, his wife of nearly 37 years.