SEATTLE - The state’s largest county has a new lead attorney for the first time in 15 years.
With crime rising in King County, voters were paying close attention to the race for county prosecuting attorney to replace 16-year incumbent, Dan Satterberg, who is stepping down.
The two candidates appearing on the ballot are: Leesa Manion, Satterberg’s chief of staff who has been with the office for nearly 30 years; and Jim Ferrell, the current mayor of Federal Way who spent 16 years as a King County deputy prosecutor.
On Nov. 10, Ferrell conceded to Manion.
"This afternoon, I called Leesa Manion to congratulate her on her historic election as King County Prosecuting Attorney. This was a spirited and hard-fought campaign and I am incredibly thankful to my loving family, friends, and supporters who put in the work to carry our message to every corner of King County. The people have spoken and I wish Leesa success as she takes on the serious challenges facing our entire region," Ferrell said in a statement on Twitter.
At the time of his concession, Ferrell was polling at 44% and Manion was pulling at 56%.
Both candidates agree more money is needed for law enforcement and cracking down on fentanyl dealing has become a large part of their campaigns.
However, they differ on how they would address the rise in violent crime.
Manion says she is promoting the use of community-based diversion programs and Ferrell is pushing for more criminal prosecutions.
Both are also split on state laws that restrict when police can chase suspects in a getaway car.
Manion says the laws were set because high-speed pursuits are dangerous, while Ferrell says he believes the rules should be rolled back, claiming it’s caused an increase in car thefts.
Recently, four armed robbery suspects in Des Moines were released from custody after their first appearance court hearing. They are accused of pointing loaded guns at two people, stole their belongings and a car.
The Des Moines police chief and the community were outraged when the suspects were let go. The police chief said that instance was a prime example of a disconnect between law enforcement and the prosecutor's office.
On the police’s statement regarding the disconnect, the candidates had this to say:
"Not just a disconnect, a chasm. That’s why the law enforcement agencies of King County, Seattle, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kent and Des Moines have all endorsed my candidacy… the concerns of law enforcement and the elected leaders of King County have not been taken into consideration. So, we need to make sure that when somebody gets arrested, that they’re held for reasonable bail and that we resolve those cases. The one you talk about—really serious and I don’t understand why anybody, why a prosecutor would be ok with electronic home detention for an armed robbery that were caught in the act," Ferrell said.
"I think we have always worked really well with law enforcement. But one thing that makes me different than Dan Satterberg, I would attend our monthly police chiefs’ meeting because you can’t build relationships if you’re not in the room. You can’t work together if you’re not in the room. And I want to ensure that we have an open line of communication. I also want more of my prosecutor’s at roll calls, establishing one on one relationships with police officers and developing single points of contact so that when police are investigating cases, they know who to reach to get their questions answered," Manion said.