COVID-19 Budget Update: Failing to Fund Our Justice System

View this in your browser.

Councilman Dunn Banner

Your Update on What's Happening at the King County Council  

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Today I voted "no" on the $631 million seventh COVID-19 supplemental budget – the largest supplemental budget in King County history.  

While it was extremely difficult to vote against a budget that funded so many worthy priorities, I could not, in good conscious, support a budget that failed to fund the most basic functions of our County government—criminal justice and public safety. 

King County is currently experiencing unprecedented increases in crime: homicides and murders have skyrocketed 86% since 2018; gun violence has increased by 19% over the three-year average; and hate crimes have nearly doubled. Meanwhile, over the last 15 years, the Sheriff’s Office has taken a 40% reduction in employee base and a 35% reduction in law enforcement services due to sustained budget cuts. 

In addition, King County is experiencing a concerning backlog in court cases, which has severely worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The King County Superior Court has over 6,400 pending criminal cases, including 2,800 cases involving homicides, rape, domestic violence, robbery, and shootings. This number is expected to surpass 9,000 by the summer. 

My top priorities since the conception of this budget has been to provide adequate funding to the King County courts, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and Sheriff’s Office, as well as bolstering our response to crimes of hate and bias. Yet, these concerns were put aside and deferred with promises that they would be addressed in the future. But, as spending increased and available funds dwindled, we began hearing concerns from public defenders, court advocates, the Prosecutor’s Office, and King County Superior and District Courts judges. 

It is after much thought and these facts before me that made the decision to vote against this budgetI believe that we cannot let our justice system and public suffer because we have lost sight of our most basic duty. 

While this budget ultimately passed, I am committed to working hard with my colleagues to address the outstanding needs of the justice system and make sure that the safety of our public is always prioritized.  

With that said, I would like to hear your input on the matters that are most important to you. Please feel free to connect with me at  It is my privilege to be your voice on the King County Council 



Reagan Dunn signature



Reagan Dunn
Vice Chairman
Metropolitan King County Council