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August 18, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Ex-interim SPD chief Jim Pugel named to sheriff’s post

Jim Pugel, the former interim chief for the Seattle Police Department, has been named chief deputy of the King County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff John Urquhart announced Monday morning.

Pugel, 55, will make about $173,000 per year as the number two person in the sheriff’s office. He also received about one year’s salary — roughly $183,000 — from the SPD in a lump sum when he retired earlier this year, Pugel said.

Pugel said Urquhart offered him the position about a month ago. He replaces Anne Kirkpatrick, who announced her retirement from the sheriff’s office in June.

“This is basically the senior VP position,” Pugel said during a news conference on Monday. “You’re responsible for working to run the organization.”

Pugel believes that much of what he learned during his 32 years as a Seattle police officer makes him a good hire. Pugel starts his new job on Sept. 1.

“A lot of the work I did with the city can transfer. I believe I can share some positive things,” Pugel said.

In his new job Pugel will be expanding the work he did at the Seattle Police Department on the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, in which officers can divert low-level drug dealers and addicts into treatment instead of taking them to jail. Since leaving SPD, Pugel has spoken to organizations around the world about the LEAD program.

“The low-level drug crimes have incarcerated an entire generation of young people and mostly people of color. We cannot arrest our way out of society’s problems,” Urquhart said. “We as police executive need to realize that.”

Urquhart, during the news conference, said that after Kirkpatrick left he took some time to find the right replacement.

“The synergy is going to be great. It’s going to be a situation of one plus one equals three and I couldn’t be happier,” Urquhart said. “This is getting the best person for the best job.”

Pugel became interim chief of the SPD in May 2013 following the retirement of John Diaz.

When Seattle Mayor Ed Murray took office in January, he named Harry Bailey as the new interim chief, replacing Pugel. Bailey served as interim chief until Kathleen O’Toole was hired.

Pugel later retired from the police department in lieu of being demoted to captain.

Pugel, a Seattle native and University of Washington graduate, started as a volunteer reserve police officer in 1981. He was hired as a full-time officer in January 1983 and promoted to sergeant seven years later.

He supervised a patrol squad at the SPD’s East Precinct, then worked at the Basic Training Academy before being promoted to lieutenant in 1994. He was a watch commander and an operations lieutenant in the East Precinct before taking command of the sexual-assault unit.

In 1999, Pugel was promoted to captain of the West Precinct.

In 2000, Pugel became an assistant chief. As commander of the department’s investigation division before he was named interim chief, he earned wide praise for the unit’s work on high-profile investigations.

This post will be updated.

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