KING COUNTY, Wash. - In Skyway, a King County Sheriff's Deputy's resignation has residents upset.
Neighbors Carolyn Burkhardt and Jill Ulrich learned days ago that Deputy Brian Barnes was leaving the Skyway storefront.
My heart and stomach sank when the email came out, said Burkhardt.
Ulrich added, We had somebody up here that really cared and showed us that they cared.
Deputy Barnes spent the last seven months working in the Skyway community where he also lives. Residents say he sent them regular emails about reported crimes, and encouraged neighbors to get involved.
Wednesday night Sheriff John Urquhart was ready to answer questions about changes at the Skyway storefront.
He was not forced out, said Urquhart. This was his decision.
Sheriff Urquart said the decision came after Deputy Barnes' schedule was switched to a night shift five days a week.
He was on a 4-10 shift which is problematic and sometimes more expensive, but the big reason he was changed was because of all the problems that we are having up here, explained Urquhart.
Skyway has seen a rise in violence recently, including a shootout in the middle of a street a couple weeks ago. Neighbors gathered to talk about crime-related concerns Wednesday, and in the crowd was Deputy Barnes. He said he is not leaving his post because of the schedule change.
It wasn t about the hours. It was about the method it was done in, and it wasn t done for budgetary reasons. There is internal conflict in the Sheriff s office, said Barnes.
Barnes said he would not discuss details about the conflict.
Neighbors who have grown to depend on Deputy Barnes hope his departure won't hurt their community.
I hope they get somebody in that has his values and wants to work for the people out here, said Ulrich.
Sheriff Urquhart said a search to find a deputy for the Skyway storefront is underway. He added changes were also made at the White Center storefront, and a deputy is now working five night shifts a week in that community.
While Barnes resigned from the Skyway storefront, he still works for the Sheriff's office. He is now at the Maple Valley precinct.
KCSO reports that two investigations are ongoing into complaints Barnes has filed against the department. The complaints are currently being investigated by outside entities, according to Sheriff Urquhart.