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King County Swears In A New Sheriff, Mitzi Johankneckt - May Increase Law Enforcement Focus on Cyber and Financial Crimes

Posted Monday, February 12, 2018 by Lizanne Padula.

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King County has a new Sheriff in town. Mitzi Johankneckt was sworn in as Sheriff of King County on January 2, 2018. At the swearing-in ceremony Johankneckt asked her command staff and every sheriff’s employee present to join her and retake the oath of office. The Seattle Times reported that this symbolic gesture was meant to “denote the kind of unity and healing Johanknecht wants to bring to a Sheriff’s Office bruised by sexual-misconduct allegations leveled at Sheriff John Urquhart and scarred by what several deputies say has become a toxic work environment.”

During Sheriff Johankneckt’s campaign she stated that her opponent had been “plagued by lawsuits, arbitrations and sexual assault allegations.” She went on to state that “King County deserves a Sheriff who treats people with respect and dignity, who abides by the law of the state and county, and the policies of the Sheriff’s Office.”

If Sheriff Johankneckt upholds her campaign promises, King County can expect an increase in law enforcement’s focus on cyber crime and financial crimes. On her website promoting her run for the Sheriff’s Office, she stated that her focus on public safety would address current and emerging crime trends: “Cybercrimes like fraud, identity theft and harassment are on the rise. Many other crimes also have a computer-related component and [King County Sheriff’s Office] is wholly underequipped to address these crimes. I will create a cybercrimes unit to focus on cyber and financial crimes. This unit will also serve as a resource for other investigative units who need forensic computer support.”

Sheriff Johankneckt says she has an eye toward fostering collaboration among law enforcement agencies. The King County Sheriff has the legal authority to assemble county-wide task forces to address community crime trends. Such collaborations can include other law enforcement and governmental agencies, and even include private sector and non-profit entities.

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