King County Council praises outgoing sheriff for years of service

March 27, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 8 a.m. March 27, 2012

King County Council members lauded outgoing Sheriff Sue Rahr on Monday as the longtime law enforcement officer plans to step down from the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Rahr is due to depart the agency March 31, after a long career at the sheriff’s office and a seven-year stint as the top law enforcement officer in the county, to lead the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. The organization trains all law enforcement officers in Washington, except for Washington State Patrol troopers.

“We take this opportunity to salute Sheriff Rahr for her decades of service to King County and her role as the first woman to lead the sheriff’s office,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert — Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee chairwoman and the Issaquah representative — said in a statement. “Her emphasis on crime prevention, community policing and implementing technology tools has left a legacy of partnerships that will continue to serve the public well.”

The council is expected to decide on Rahr’s successor soon. The outgoing sheriff tapped the No. 2 officer at the sheriff’s office, Chief Deputy Steve Strachan, to serve as interim sheriff. The post requires council approval.

King County voters then select a sheriff in the November general election.

Rahr started as a law enforcement officer to raise money for law school tuition. Soon, she joined the first women to work as a regular patrol officer in a single-officer patrol car in 1979.

“From patrol deputy to division chief to sheriff, Sue Rahr has left her mark at every level of the sheriff’s office,” council Chairman Larry Gossett said. “It is with sadness that we see her leave the county courthouse, but we know her legacy is the strong, stable 21st century department she is leaving for the next sheriff.”

In 2004, Dave Reichert tapped Rahr, a veteran deputy and former Shoreline police chief, as the next sheriff. King County voters later elected her to the post by a landslide in 2005. In 2009, she faced no opposition for re-election.

(Reichert left the sheriff’s office after winning the 8th Congressional District seat; he continues to represent Issaquah and the area in the U.S. House of Representatives.)

“King County has been fortunate to have Sue Rahr as its elected sheriff,” Issaquah-area Councilman Reagan Dunn said. “Even through difficult budgetary times, Sheriff Rahr has provided steady, quality leadership for law enforcement officers serving and protecting the residents of unincorporated King County and cities contracting with the sheriff’s office. I thank her for her service and wish her well in her next endeavor.”

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