Prioritizing Public Safety in South King County

Dear Neighbor,

My top priority this year continues to be ensuring people are safe and feel safe in our community – a concern that people in South King County are always sharing with me.

This month I had the opportunity to join local police department leaders at a public safety forum organized by the Seattle Southside Chamber.

My message was clear – the King County Council needs to do more to improve public safety, but we all have a role to play to help reduce crime.

The State Legislature makes the laws. City councilmembers oversee local police departments. Our elected Prosecutor makes charging decisions.  Elected judges make sentencing decisions. As a King County Councilmember, I have worked with our local Mayors to identify steps the King County Council, specifically, can take to improve public safety. As a result, I have fought for:

  • More funding for our courts to remove the backlog of cases so victims can receive justice.
  • More transparency and accountability from community-led diversion programs to make sure they are effective in moving people away from criminal activity.
  • Retention and hiring bonuses to ensure the King County Sheriff’s office has the deputies it needs to provide public safety responses.
  • :eeping more local city police on the streets by providing a location to book prisoners in the South end instead of having to drive them up to the Seattle jail.

Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the King County Council intensified efforts to better deliver police services in a more just and compassionate manner. We have been persistent and are beginning to see results:

  • We have secured independent investigation authority and subpoena power for our civilian Office of Law Enforcement Oversight.
  • We significantly increased the staff of the civilian Office of Law Enforcement Oversight so they have the resources to be more effective.
  • We have funded and are deploying body cameras on King County Sheriff’s deputies.
  • We have funded alternative response models in the Sheriff’s office—where mental health and substance abuse workers respond with or instead of law enforcement to some calls.

We also continue to invest nearly $100 million per year to address root causes of crime—particularly through the Best Starts for Kids program.  We likely spend more than any other regional government in the nation on addressing root causes.  These investments are critical but they don’t take away the need for police, courts and jails. We need both.

You can hear me talk more about public safety in this recent Community Conversations segment that I taped with with Tony Ventrella. You can watch our conversation here or below:

Community Conversations: Dave Upthegrove on Public Safety from King County TV on Vimeo.


Parks Levy Grants Now Open!

Our 2023 Request for Applications is now open!

King County Parks is now accepting applications for the following grant programs:

    • Aquatic Facilities
    • Parks Capital and Open Space 
    • Open Space – River Corridors
    • Healthy Communities and Parks Fund

Applications will be accepted through March 15, 2023! Visit kingcounty.gov/LevyGrants to view program details and apply. 

Parks Levy Grant Now Open

$25 Million in Grants to Assist with Economic Recovery

As part of the County’s COVID support in 2021, funding was provided to assist with economic recovery in our Black and Indigenous communities.  Organizations and businesses can now apply for grants in the following priority areas: health and wellness; economic stability and strengthening; housing; education; and power and capacity building.

Grant applications will close Tuesday, March 28, 2023, for the Capacity-building, General and Small Business grants. Physical Infrastructure grants will close on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.

More information can be found here.

Photo of a small business with an "Opening Soon" sign

Meet Benji!

Please meet the newest member of the team, Benji! Benji is a rescue from Burien C.A.R.E.S., a great South King County non-profit helping pets find their new furever home.

Benji is a terrier golden retriever mix and true to his breeds, he is high-energy and extremely loving. He’s made himself at home and continues to try to befriend our four-year-old cat, Dobby.

Although Benji joined the family a few months ago, Dobby was not pleased and refused to be in the same room with him until about Valentine’s Day, but look at them now!

If you or your loved ones are in search of a new furry companion, check out Burien C.A.R.E.S. or King County’s own Regional Animal Licensing & Services (RALS) which has a great pet adoption program with dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and even ducks looking for their forever homes.

During the month of March, adopt an adult dog from RASKC for just $50 – a savings of 50% or more off the regular fee. This adoption fee includes a King County pet license (if applicable), initial veterinary exam including vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery, and microchipping.

Benji and Dobby!

As always, I value your thoughts, ideas, and input. Please feel welcome to contact me via email at Dave.Upthegrove@kingcounty.gov.

You can watch Council meetings via livestream on the Council’s website or on KCTV channel 22. We take general public comment on the 4th Tuesday of every month.

To learn more about testifying before Council go to:




Dave Upthegrove

King County Councilmember
District 5