EVERETT, Wash. – A Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputy has filed a $100-million lawsuit against county administrators to pressure them into hiring more officers.
Deputy Mike Rosskind says understaffing nearly cost him his life and has taken his complaint to the state Department of Labor and Industries. He believes the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department is so understaffed that it’s a hazardous work environment.
“It is their responsibility to provide a safe and helpful work environment for us,” said Rosskind. “They are not doing it. And if it’s not safe for us, how safe is it for the community?
“It’s dangerous to be a police officer,” he added. “I don’t mind getting hurt; I don’t mind dying. I mind very much dying needlessly and senselessly and the staffing level is making it reckless – not just dangerous – to be a police officer.”
Three weeks ago, Rosskind’s knee was smashed while he was making an arrest. And the backup officer came too late.
“The response times are horrendous and many people have been injured over this,” he said.
Citizens are behind Rosskind. “I would say it’s dangerous to our deputies, therefore to their families, and it’s certainly dangerous to the citizens of Snohomish County,” said Irene Endicott, a citizen activist.
Rosskind is presently on disability leave from the department and says he is acting as a private citizen in his claim and lawsuit against the county.