King County Sheriff Steve Strachan announced Friday the county plans to hire 14 more sheriff's deputies in the coming months without using any additional funds from the current budget.
Currently, 20 vacancies existing on the sheriff's force. Strachan said his staff saved money by cutting back on overtime costs. Those funds will be used for the new hires.
"In the past we have had to maintain a large number of unfilled vacancies in order to save money for unforeseen events and to balance our budget," said Steve Strachan. "Because of the good work of our people at the front lines responsible for managing day to day budgets, we can fill some of those vacancies and put more cops on the street."
The plan includes hiring four deputies in October, five in November and five in January. The deputies will be patrolling large unincorporated areas of King County, to increase police presence and help deter crime.
Meanwhile, Strachan's opponent in this fall's election, longtime sheriff's office spokesman John Urquhart, said the sheriff is "cooking the books" and that the announcement is politically motivated. He believes Strachan has gotten less overtime by changing shift minimums, leaving many parts of unincorporated King County unprotected.
KING 5's Liza Javier and Linda Brill contributed to this report.