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James Pugel named chief deputy of the King County Sheriff's Office

King County Sheriff John Urquhart announced James Pugel as the county's new chief deputy on Monday.

Pugel, the Seattle Police Department's former Interim Chief of Police, takes over for Anne Kirkpatrick, who retired from the sheriff’s office in June.

Pugel, 55, spent 31 years in law enforcement before briefly retiring in January. During the press conference, Urquhart said Pugel will add experience and a fresh perspective to the position.

"I could not be happier," Urquhart said. "I could not have more confidence in Jim and he's a great choice."

Pugel will begin his role on Sept. 1 and earn around $173,000, Urquhart said.

Pugel said he had a "good break" during his temporary retirement but was excited to be back in law enforcement. He said a main goal is improving relations and trust with the public.

Urquhart said no other candidates were interviewed and dismissed a question of whether members of the sheriff's office would be upset about being passed over by someone from the outside.

"I think my people are better than that," Urquhart said. "I think they understand that what's best for the organization is what's best for them."

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