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Yes, the Spokane County Sheriff has jurisdiction within the City of Spokane

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich wrote a letter to WSDOT stating he plans to clear out the homeless camp near I-90 by mid-October. State law says he can act within the city.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich’s claim that he will clear out the homeless camp in Spokane by mid-October has raised some questions about jurisdiction. 

The camp near I-90 and Freya is on state-owned land, within the boundaries of the City of Spokane.  

THE QUESTION

Does the Spokane County Sheriff have jurisdiction in the City of Spokane?  

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich does have jurisdiction within the City of Spokane.

WHAT WE FOUND

RCW 47.52.200 addresses part of the question of law enforcement jurisdiction within a city or town. 

The law states that in incorporated cities or towns, municipal police officers, the sheriff of the county and the Washington State Patrol have independent and concurrent jurisdiction.

This particular law deals with enforcement on roadways, not property, but is one example of how a county Sheriff can operate within incorporated city boundaries.

The City of Seattle explains how this works on its website

The city writes, “Since Seattle is located in King County, the King County Sheriff's Office has jurisdictional authority within the city limits as well.” The city also added that Seattle Police are considered the primary agency within the city. 

KREM 2 also reached out to the Spokane Police Department and Cpl. Nick Briggs confirmed that Sheriff Knezovich does have jurisdiction within the City of Spokane.

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