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First female sheriff confirmed; 'high moral character'

By PAT JENKINS

The Mirror

The appointment of Susan Rahr as King County sheriff has been approved by some of her biggest fans, the County Council.

The council’s unanimous confirmation Jan. 17 came several weeks after Rahr, the first woman to head the Sheriff Department, was picked by former sheriff Dave Reichert to be his interim successor following his election to Congress.

Rahr will serve the rest of Reichert’s term as sheriff. To keep the post after this year, she’ll have to win in next fall’s election. The office is non-partisan.

Rahr has been with the Sheriff Department for 25 years, including the last four as chief of field operations. She also has been an undercover narcotics officer and at different times headed units in internal investigations and gang crimes. In addition, she’s been credited for work in a sexual-assault prevention program for elementary school-age children and the Party Patrol program aimed at preventing underage drinking and driving.

Councilman Pete von Reichbauer said Rahr’s work on gang activity is particularly significant to law enforcement in the south King County area. Ethnic gangs with Ukrainian, Cambodian and Chinese backgrounds are growing here, he said.

Von Reichbauer said Rahr has the qualities a sheriff needs, including “high moral character, an indefatigable drive toward improving the safety of local citizens, and a vow of continued aggression against crime in our neighborhoods.”

The first female sheriff in the county’s history also made a good impression on council members when working with them on budget decisions, said Councilman Larry Phillips. He cited her “professionalism” during streamlining of the Sheriff Department.

“She’s going to be a great sheriff,” said Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, chairwoman of the council’s Law, Justice and Human Services Committee. “She has always been focused on the safety” of citizens, establishing community ties that are “the most effective form of law enforcement.”

Rahr’s former boss, Reichert, was elected last November as U.S. representative from the 8th District. He reportedly considered other possible replacements for him as sheriff besides Rahr, who was believed to always be his preference.

State and county law requires the council to formally fill any vacancies in elected county office. The council conducted a confirmation hearing before approving Rahr.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, editor@fedwaymirror.com

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