A report taking a critical look at the way internal investigations are handled inside the King County Sheriff’s Office is expected to be released this morning by the Metropolitan King County Council.
The 69-page audit conducted by a Chicago security management consulting firm, makes eight findings and 18 recommendations on ways the department can improve policies and provide law enforcement oversight, according to a source who has read the audit. The audit recommends that oversight continue through King County’s Office of Law Enforcement Oversight, or OLEO.
The most glaring finding is that “the single greatest deficit is that the sheriff’s office that over time it has developed a passive and reactive approach to the way it receives, manages and investigates internal affairs complaints,” according to the source.
In 2006, the council approved the creation of the OLEO, to monitor internal investigations of allegations of misconduct by deputies. The issue of civilian oversight has been controversial among deputies and something later negotiated with the deputies union. The issue was brought to the bargaining table with the union and new terms for the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight were created in 2009.
In October 2011, Charles Gaither was appointed as the director of the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight.
In 2009, the county council directed the King County Auditor’s Office to create a permanent auditing process focusing on sheriff’s office Internal Investigation Unit. Hillard and Heintze, the Chicago-based law enforcement consulting firm, were hired to conduct the audit, which is expected to be released this morning.
This post will be updated when the report is released.