Tribal member named King County Police Chief

Article by Sarah Miller, photo submitted by Shawn Ledford

Shawn Ledford

King County recently got a new police chief and that is Tulalip tribal member Shawn Ledford. Shawn will be performing his duties in the city of Shoreline. Due to Shoreline not having their own police force, they contract out to King County for police services.

Shawn has worked for the King County Sheriff’s Office for 23 years now. His recent position was Zone Commander of Patrol Operations. Shawn has held other law enforcement positions, including patrol officer in Federal Way, a training officer and negotiator on a hostage negotiations team and he was also a detective in the Special Assault and Major Crimes Robbery/Homicide Unit. Shawn has definitely been busy.

With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Criminology from Western Washington University, Shawn started his new position on June 1st and is looking forward to serving the community.

“I always had an interest in law enforcement,” Shawn remembers. “I once did a couple of ride along with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. The deputies I talked with really enjoyed their job; it was exciting, something new each day and there were opportunities to do a variety of assignments.”

Shawn has much inspiration to do his job. He wants to keep the community safe and lead by example while setting expectations for the Shoreline officers.

“I want them to be respectful, listen, work with the community to solve problems and be fair and professional when enforcing the law,” he said.
While in this position, Shawn wants to make a difference in the community. He plans on doing this by improving communications with the community, keep the people informed about what is going on with their city, their neighborhood and be responsive to their concerns.

“Public safety is a priority in all communities,” Shawn states. “It’s a big responsibility at all levels within a police agency. I feel fortunate to work with good, talented people. It’s important to keep the trust of the community and that people feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods.”

Though he has many goals, Shawn understands that challenges lurk at every corner and he looks forward to overcoming them.

“Finding efficiencies with a right budget and limited resources will be difficult,” Shawn continues. “I want to make sure we have adequate staffing and that the officers have the proper training and equipment to do their job safely and effectively.”

A few of Shawn’s goals for Shoreline are to work cooperatively with the Shoreline Fire Department, city departments such as roads, public works, community development and the Shoreline School District.

“Public safety takes more than just the police department,” Shawn responds. “It’s truly a team effort.”

Shawn is grateful for the opportunity to serve and protect the city of Shoreline. It’s not always an easy job but it’s a worthwhile job to keep the community in safe arms.

“When we get a thank you, a nice letter or a positive comment, that makes our job worth it,” Shawn says. “Police officers have a difficult job to do; it’s the simple things that remind us that we can make a difference and most people support what we do.”