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Rahr to resign as King County Sheriff; ex-Kent Police Chief Strachan to be interim sheriff

King County Sheriff Sue Rahr will resign March 31 to take a new job. - COURTESY PHOTO
King County Sheriff Sue Rahr will resign March 31 to take a new job.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO

King County Sheriff Sue Rahr announced Wednesday that she will resign March 31 to assume new duties April 1 as director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

Chief Deputy Steve Strachan, a former Kent Police chief, will become the interim sheriff.

The training commission center in Burien trains all law enforcement officers in the state of Washington, except the State Patrol. In additional to training new law enforcement officers, WSCJTC trains local corrections officers, 911 operators, and provides a wide variety of in-service classes for law enforcement veterans, supervisors, managers, and other criminal justice professionals.

Rahr issued the following statement:

"Today, I have accepted a final offer from the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) to become the Director. I plan to retire as Sheriff on March 31 and assume my new duties as Director of the academy on April 1.

I made the decision to leave the Sheriff’s Office before the end of my term for a number of reasons. First, and foremost, I have complete confidence in Chief Deputy Steve Strachan and the rest of the command staff to effectively lead the Sheriff’s Office and continue to protect and serve the citizens of King County. I would not and could not leave this post without that confidence. I believe this transition can be smooth with no impact on our service and no disruption of our workforce.

Second, the chance to lead the WSCJTC was a rare and unexpected opportunity. I have gained valuable knowledge and experience in my 32 continuous years in law enforcement. I have learned a great deal about the heart and spirit of service, compassion, fairness, and leadership in my role as Sheriff. These years of experience have prepared me to continue to serve both the citizens of Washington State—and my brothers and sisters in law enforcement. Participating over the years in a number of national forums and workgroups related to police training and accountability have provided me with a solid foundation to help direct our state’s efforts to improve the skills, effectiveness, and safety of our police officers and improve public trust. I am very excited for the opportunity to contribute what I can to 21st Century policing.

I have designated Chief Deputy Strachan as the Interim Sheriff upon my resignation. He will remain in that status until the County Council meets and takes action to either confirm him as Interim Sheriff or name someone else. I have met with each council member and expressed my strong support for Chief Deputy Strachan to take the helm of this large, complex organization. He has been the Chief Deputy since January of 2011 and is well versed in the operation and current issues facing the Sheriff’s Office.

It is not an easy decision to step away from the uniform, badge, and people who have been such an important part of my life for the past 32 years. It has been my honor to serve the citizens of King County as Sheriff and to work with the extraordinarily talented and dedicated law enforcement professionals in the Sheriff’s Office and throughout King County and Washington State.

My seven years as Sheriff have been filled with many challenges as well as personal rewards and accomplishments. We have weathered the most extensive budget cuts in the history of the Sheriff’s Office while attaining National Accreditation. We have refined and improved our contract policing program and it is now considered one of the most progressive in the nation. Most importantly, we have effectively served and protected the citizens of King County.

I’m very proud of the men and women I’ve served with and will forever be in their debt."

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