11:13 AM: We’re at the County Courthouse downtown, where Mitzi Johanknecht has just taken the oath of office and become King County Sheriff. She’s a West Seattle resident who has risen through the Sheriff’s Office ranks over a career of more than 30 years. The oath was administered by Superior Court Presiding Judge Laura Inveen; right after taking her oath, the new Sheriff led her staff in taking their oaths. Those scheduled to speak as the ceremony continues include two other prominent elected West Seattleites, County Executive Dow Constantine and County Council Chair Joe McDermott.
(Video added – the short speeches by Constantine, McDermott, and Johanknecht)
11:22 AM: “It is a new year, and a new day in King County,” Constantine began. He underscored the importance of public-safety services in citizens’ lives. He declared that Sheriff Johanknecht had “served well … and earned the right” to the office she now holds, hoping that she will help make King County “a safer and more-equitable place” for everyone. His brief speech was followed by that of McDermott. He noted that jobs like theirs take “an incredible amount of teamwork and listening” and said that he and his Council colleagues “look forward to working with you” on a variety of issues including budgeting. He expressed hopes that she will serve as an “accountable, transparent, and listening Sheriff.”
Then the sheriff took the microphone, thanking those in attendance for their presence on “this kind of special day” and she acknowledged the service of her predecessor, John Urquhart, who she defeated in November’s election. She said she hopes to “build and reimagine law enforcement” and looks forward to keeping “public safety … a high priority. It’s not just the Sheriff’s Office, it takes community to help us achieve those goals.”
She concluded by thanking wife Maureen and the rest of their family, and describing herself as “honored and humbled.” We’ll add more photos and video when back at HQ.