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Burien Mayor Responds to Threats from King County Sheriff’s Deputies

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Burien Mayor Kevin Schilling responding to King County Sheriff’s Deputies threatening to leave the job.


The City of Burien is focused on getting folks off the street and into shelter and services. The City Council prioritizes treatment over tents, and public safety over politics.

The Burien City Council appreciates the work of the deputies and officers in protecting Burien. We understand they are in a difficult position while this political issue plays out.

Burien Police Officers are employed by the County Sheriff’s Office and are Sheriff’s Deputies. They are here to protect and serve our community every day. For years we’ve heard from the police about the short comings of county service providers and the need to get drugs and public camping under control. Then, with a council that wants to do that in place, we’re now in this scenario where the Sheriff is not enforcing those laws.

A judge has not ruled that this law is unconstitutional, but instead, it falls squarely in line with federal requirements as well as in line with the argument of the administration of President Joseph Biden: that these laws are common sense and practical, and cities have the authority to put time, place, and manner restrictions on public camping.

We hope we can come together and find common ground and get a path toward enforcement of our public camping ordinance and drug use laws.

We are disappointed the Sheriff has unilaterally decided not to enforce a law passed by the democratically elected city council. And we look forward to the decisions of the courts.

Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entrepreneurship to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial.