King County Sheriff Sue Rahr has appointed Chief Deputy Steve Strachan as interim sheriff.

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King County Sheriff Sue Rahr announced on Wednesday that she’d accepted a job as director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission and is stepping down as sheriff effective March 31.

The move was not a surprise as Rahr, 55, had spoken publicly about her wish to make the move. She will assume her new duties at the training commission in the first week of April, she said in a news release.

Rahr has appointed Chief Deputy Steve Strachan as interim sheriff. The County Council will then either confirm him as interim sheriff or name someone else, she said.

Rahr, who has been in law enforcement for 32 years, was first elected King County sheriff in 2005. She had been appointed to the position earlier that year when then-Sheriff Dave Reichert was elected to Congress. Reichert recommended Rahr for the job, as Rahr is now seeking to select Strachan.

Rahr said she had complete confidence in Strachan and “would not and could not leave this post without that confidence.”

Rahr called the new job a rare and unexpected opportunity to use her accumulated knowledge to help direct the state’s efforts to educate law-enforcement officers and improve their skills, effectiveness and safety.

“I have designated Chief Deputy Strachan as the Interim Sheriff upon my resignation. 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,” she said in a statement.

“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,” she said.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com