King Co. Sheriff wants $655K to reopen Maple Valley precinct

MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. -- Back in 2012, the King County Sheriff's Office closed its precinct in Maple Valley, planning to share nearby facilities and leaving its deputies in southeast King County without a permanent home.

It didn't work. And, now King County Executive Dow Constantine is asking for more than $655,000 in his 2014 proposed King County budget to reopen and update the Maple Valley precinct.

The precinct, along with its counterpart in Kenmore, was closed two years ago when the Sheriff's Office switched from precinct-based staffing to zone-based staffing, ideally allowing deputies to go where they are needed most while the Sheriff's Office shared other agencies' facilities for things like desk work and holding cells.

While this worked out fairly well up north, King County Sheriff's Office Chief of Staff Chris Barringer said there weren't enough available facilities to share near Maple Valley and the rest of southeast King County.

In addition, the loss of the precinct meant the loss of roll call and the face-to-face time that gave deputies and sergeants.

That's why Constantine included $655,556 to reopen and upgrade the Maple Valley precinct in his proposed budget.

"A top priority for the Sheriff is to bring deputies closer to the people they serve and to have a place in southeast King County to restore the vital practice of weekly roll calls with sergeants and deputies," Constantine said in a press release.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart said in a press release that the potential reopening of the precinct is great news for residents in southeast King County as it will not only bring deputies closer to the community but also give the community a resource for ceremonies and other events.

The former precinct building in Maple Valley has been sitting empty since the Sheriff's Office moved out. Barringer said it could reopen as early as next spring.

If the King County Council does not approve the money to reopen the precinct, Barringer said the property could be sold.

Constantine's proposed budget also includes money to move the Sheriff's Office Special Operations unit to the reopened Maple Valley precinct and to hire three new deputies and a new sergeant.