King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht took the oath of office Tuesday morning.
After Mitzi Johanknecht was sworn in as King County’s new sheriff Tuesday morning in a downtown Seattle courtroom, she vowed to build partnerships and ensure that public safety remains a top priority.
She asked her command staff and every sheriff’s employee present — both uniformed deputies and civilians — to also retake the oath of office. About 100 people, their right hands raised, swore to abide by the county’s law enforcement code of ethics and to uphold the laws of the country, state and county in the packed ninth-floor courtroom of presiding Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen.
The entire ceremony took about 20 minutes, beginning with the posting of colors and a prayer by a sheriff’s chaplain for God “to protect them, our protectors.” A deputy presented Johanknecht’s wife, Maureen Warren, with a bouquet of yellow roses. Later, Warren pinned a sheriff star to her wife’s chest.
“I’m honored and humbled by this acknowledgment and vote into office, and I will work hard for you,” Johanknecht said.
Johanknecht, a 33-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, unseated Sheriff John Urquhart in a November upset. On Tuesday, Johanknecht thanked her predecessor for his long service, the last five years as sheriff.
King County Executive Dow Constantine, who attended the ceremony along with Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, said he and Johanknecht share a commitment to providing a safe environment for people to raise their children.
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“I know you have experience in almost every operational and administrative assignment in this office. You have served well. You’ve earned the right to lead,” Constantine told Johanknecht.
In the weeks since the election, Johanknecht (pronounced “Joe Hank Nick”) — whom Urquhart promoted to major in 2015 — has been juggling her responsibilities as commander of Precinct 4 in Burien with assembling a transition team and command staff, meeting with other elected officials and creating a blueprint for her first six months in office.