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Sheriff answers questions about sex-offender facility

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NORTH BEND - The King County Sheriff's Office currently does not have adequate funding or manpower to ensure that a transitional house for sex-offenders would be secure.

That was the message King County Sheriff Dave Reichert delivered to a roomful of more than 150 concerned residents at the April 1 North Bend City Council meeting.

Reichert was on hand at the invitation of North Bend Mayor Joan Simpson to speak about the possibility of the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) placing such a facility just outside of the city near the Washington State Patrol Fire Training Academy. Although the state had not announced that the North Bend site was on the official list of candidates - which currently includes two sites in south King County - until after the meeting, DSHS had admitted that the area was under consideration.

"I'm opposed to having any site located in this county - period," Reichert said. "But we know it's coming."

Like city officials, Reichert said he learned of the state's decision to consider the North Bend site from the media. He added that his input into the process to date has been "zero," as officials from DSHS have yet to speak to him directly about the facility.

If that facility were to be located anywhere in King County, current budget constraints will complicate the issue, Reichert said.

"With the current staffing we cannot ensure that this facility will be secure," he said.

Reichert said he did not know what the funding solution would entail.

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