County exec pitches diversion program, sheriff’s office cuts

SEATTLE (AP) — King County Executive Dow Constantine in Seattle has proposed several initiatives that would reduce funding to the county Sheriff’s Office, shift resources from the traditional criminal system toward community-based alternatives and move away from longstanding fare enforcement on buses. The Seattle Times reports his pitch Wednesday brought immediate pushback from Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht, whose office said she was not consulted. The proposals are part of the biennial budget that Constantine will present next week and were spurred by months of protests against police violence and systemic racism that have dominated the nation this summer. And they come as the coronavirus pandemic has forced cutbacks across nearly all branches of county government.