Cuts in the proposed 2009 budget for Seattle’s King County would “seriously jeopardize” the criminal-justice system’s ability to serve the public, law-enforcement and court officials said at a town meeting last night reported by the Seattle Times. While a few of the cuts would help streamline the system, many would eliminate vital programs, putting public safety at risk, said King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, District Court Presiding Judge Barbara Linde, and Superior Court Presiding Judge Bruce Hilyer. “A few years ago, I was really proud of our system,” Satterberg said. “Now we’re seeing it start to crumble.”
Rahr expects to cut 79 employees, among them two animal-control dispatchers, two gambling and vice detectives, a warrant detective, and most drug-enforcement officers. The Sheriff’s Office would have to restrict the hours during which citizens could obtain certain licenses and halt investigations of property crimes under $10,000.