Redmond, partners celebrate launch of new King County Community Court

New program aims to help low-level offenders by offering services and sanctions as an alternative to jail time.

City of Redmond officials gathered with community partners recently to celebrate the launch of the county’s first King County Community Court program.

The new “problem-solving court” aims to help low-level offenders in Redmond reconnect with their community by offering services and sanctions as an alternative to jail time.

The city and the Redmond Library are partnering with King County District Court to pilot the program. The court is held in a library meeting room — right next door to the Community Resource Center — every Wednesday from 1:30-3:30 p.m. starting in April 2018.

The community court seeks to identify and address the underlying challenges of court participants that may contribute to criminal activity. According to the city’s website, the court’s mission is to “reduce crime by providing services and increasing community engagement and connection.”

“The launch event included all the partners involved in this project; King County District Court, the City of Redmond, Redmond Library and Redmond Police, volunteers and community service providers who have come together to create a community court in the truest sense,” said Othniel Palomino, chief administrative officer of the King County District Court in an email. “Each partner has taken their unique strengths and abilities and collaborated to provide services that benefit everyone. I was inspired by the care and commitment that made this program possible.”

Judge Katu Shah, East Division presiding judge of King County District Court, noted that the court is a “fantastic collaboration of our Redmond and King County communities in providing access to services and help people to find stability and recovery. We are so happy that the City of Redmond and King County Library have partnered with us for this successful launch.”

Callista Welbaum, Community Court manager, King County District Court, said in an email that the launch event was “a beautiful display” of collaboration.

“I’m proud of this program, the partnerships with the City of Redmond and the King County Library System, the service providers, and the individuals who have worked hard to get their cases dismissed,” Welbaum said in an email.