On May 3, following a nationwide search and thorough interview and public engagement process, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced his appointment of Patti Cole-Tindall to serve as King County sheriff.
Cole-Tindall has a background in law enforcement, labor relations and human resources as well as service to the community. She joined the King County Sheriff’s Office in Oct. 2015, serving as the Chief of Technical Services Division for almost five years before being appointed undersheriff in 2020.
She was appointed interim sheriff in Nov. 2021 and began serving in her new role in January.
“The mission of the sheriff’s office is to improve the quality of life and preserve public safety for the people of King County. To meet the needs of our community, we must rethink and reimagine how to deliver on that promise, and there’s no better person to do that and serve as sheriff than Patti Cole-Tindall,” said Constantine. “Her experience as a leader, rooted in accountability and equality, and her credibility in the community and within the sheriff’s office ranks, are the exact combination of qualities we were looking for in a sheriff.”
Prior to her time at KCSO, Cole-Tindall served as the county’s Director of Labor Relations, advising Constantine and the King County Council on strategic planning, labor policy and employment law. She also served as the interim director of the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight, working with staff, the King County Sheriff’s Office, and the public to improve services and promote awareness of the role of civilian oversight in King County.
“In the few months since Patti has stepped into the role of interim sheriff, we’ve seen a big difference in responsiveness, communication, and collaboration with her department,” said King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay. “She is the right person to continue leading KCSO as we innovate and build a system of public safety that keeps everyone safe. I believe she will welcome and help us continue to build a public health focused and community-based approach to public safety.”
With the passage of a Charter Amendment in Nov. 2020, the sheriff’s office is transitioning from an elected position to an appointed sheriff. As part of that process, the Public Safety Advisory Committee developed recommendations for the characteristics of the next Sheriff. These recommendations were reviewed by Constantine and the King County Council and considered during the interview process.
A total of 12 candidates submitted applications to the nationwide search, which began in Nov. 2021. Seven candidates were moved to the first round of interviews and following two additional rounds three finalists were named, including Cole-Tindall.
In the final phase of the selection process, the candidates met with members of the Public Safety Advisory Committee, King County employees, labor representatives, and contract city representatives and engaged with the community in a separate series of public forums prior to a final interview with Constantine.
The King County Council will now proceed with a hearing and confirmation process, set to begin on May 18 with a final vote expected later this month.
After confirmation by the council, Cole-Tindall will complete the Criminal Justice Training Commission Basic Law Enforcement Academy to be recertified as a peace officer, following her initial training 30 years ago. This training will be completed within one year of her appointment. The academy is currently 19 weeks long and Cole-Tindall will attend BLEA no later than Jan. 2023 to meet the certification requirement. While at the academy, an acting sheriff from the KCSO leadership team will be appointed.
“Patti Cole-Tindall has a long history of serving the people of King County and is uniquely prepared to lead the Sheriff’s Office, with experience in labor relations, jail diversion, and in law enforcement oversight and management,” said King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci. “She has a proven commitment to the mission of the King County Sheriff’s Office and has earned the trust of the people who work for it and the community it serves. I congratulate her on her nomination and look forward to working with her as she leads the Sheriff’s Office.”