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Executive Constantine appoints Patti Cole-Tindall as King County Sheriff

Patti Cole-Tindall has been nominated to be King County Sheriff. The King County Council will host a hearing on May 18, followed by a confirmation vote.

Following a nationwide search and thorough interview and public engagement process, Executive Constantine announced today 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 (KCSO) in October 2015, serving as the Chief of Technical Services Division for almost five years before being appointed to Undersheriff in 2020. She was appointed Interim Sheriff in November 2021 and began serving in her new role in January.

Prior to her time at KCSO, Cole-Tindall served as the County’s Director of Labor Relations, advising Executive Constantine and the County Council on strategic planning, labor policy, and employment law. She concurrently served as the interim director of the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight, working with staff, the Sheriff’s Office, and the public to improve services and promote awareness of the role of civilian oversight in King County.

“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 Executive 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.”

“I am honored and humbled to be selected to serve as the next King County Sheriff. I am looking forward to the future of not only the agency but also the community as we work collaboratively to co-create the public safety agency that meets the needs of the residents in King County,” said Cole-Tindall. “I, along with my leadership team, are committed to making the King County Sheriff’s Office a premier law enforcement agency and striving for continuous improvement.”

With the passage of a Charter Amendment in November 2020, the Sheriff’s Office is transitioning from an elected 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 Executive 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 November 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 Executive Constantine.

“As Mayor of a city that depends on the King County Sheriff's Office, I look forward to seeing how Cole-Tindall's leadership will improve public safety,” said Sofia Aragon, Mayor of Burien. “I appreciate her commitment to ongoing inclusion of community voices when making improvements and increased collaboration and accountability with the Executive's office.”

“I applaud the appointment of Patti Cole-Tindall. It is a hopeful sign when African American women are recognized for their abilities and experience. Ms. Cole-Tindall is fully capable of leading the King County Sheriff’s Department, and I am confident she will do so in a fair, professional, and progressive manner,” said Carolyn Riley-Payne, President of the Seattle/King County NAACP. “Her skills speak for themselves and this appointment speaks volumes about Executive Constantine’s concern for people of color, and for all the citizens of King County. I look forward to working with her.”

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.

“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.”

After confirmation by the Council, Cole-Tindall will complete the Criminal Justice Training Commission Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) 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 January 2023 to meet the certification requirement. While at the academy, an acting Sheriff from the KCSO leadership team will be appointed.