King Co. Sheriff couldn't afford additional May Day aid

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jlangelerKING5

KING5.com

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Updated Friday, May 2 at 8:15 AM

Preparations for the May Day protests went right down to the wire. At the 11th hour, Seattle Police asked for mutual aid from the King County Sheriff's Office.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart got that call late Wednesday and this year he had an unusual response – he said no.

"I just couldn't do it this time,” he said. "Unfortunately, I had to turn them down because I just didn't have the investment to make."

Urquhart said his office couldn't afford to pay his deputies overtime for May Day. Instead, he provided about 15 detectives and the Metro Transit deputies who would normally be downtown.

"That's not the same as mutual aid.  It's probably not what they really would have liked, which would've been riot squads essentially."

Urquhart said his department hasn't had money to train riot squads in five years, and then there is the Seahawks Super Bowl celebration.

"I didn't have anything to augment them with because I used it up for the Seahawks parade," said Urquhart.

Agencies, including the sheriff's office, worked the event. About 65 deputies were there.

According to Urquhart, the Seahawks are supposed pay for that, but that hasn't happened.
   
The Seahawks could not respond Thursday night.

As for May Day, "We don't have the responsibility, always, to patrol and protect downtown Seattle,” Urquhart said.

Seattle Police said other departments were able to step in and help.

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