WHITE CENTER, Wash. — King County is looking to create a new approach to public safety. The county is asking for input through a survey with questions about reimagining public safety in urban unincorporated King County.
The county is looking to implement changes through a pilot program in 2022. The survey says the county has an opportunity to "create something new and better."
The survey has more than 30 questions. It asks for opinions on policing and the King County Sheriff's Office, thoughts on community resources and whether the county should invest in a non-police response system.
"The most important question is, 'Where are we?' We have to establish where we are first and be honest with the state of affairs of today," said Eugene Youngblood, a care coordinator with the Freedom Project, a non-profit partnering with the county to prevent gun violence.
The Freedom Project recently called on King County to add millions of dollars to gun violence prevention funding. Data from the county prosecutor's office shows gun violence will hit an all-time high in 2021.
Youngblood said the survey gives people a chance to speak out, but he argues many issues with public safety are already well-known. He wants to see the county take action towards change and believes King County has an opportunity to create a public safety plan that can be a model for departments across the country.
"If we're talking about reimagining something, then we have to really talk about reimagining," said Youngblood, "What we're talking about here, a lot of people think is impossible, which is trying to break down systemic racism and open up the door and get rid of these punishment systems and come up with a new point of view, a new perspective, which will be more of a restorative mode," said Youngblood.