PHILADELPHIA Sheriff Jewell Williams wants $3.5 million more for his office than last year to pay for more deputies, accounting help and a new computer system.

The request, which Williams made to City Council during a budget hearing Thursday, would increase the sheriff's budget to $17.8 million.

Williams said ongoing investigations and lawsuits that had arisen from previous administrations and the lack of an in-house accounting staff have prompted the need for an outside accounting firm to examine the office's books, which would cost $350,000.

An internal computer system that handles sheriff's sales and other functions recently collapsed for nearly a day and needs to be replaced at a cost of $500,000, he said.

Regarding staffing at the city courts, he said there are 214 sheriff deputies and supervisors, down from 230 in 2008.

Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez said she wanted more details on how the money would be used. "This is not a small number," she said.

City Finance Director Rob Dubow said Mayor Nutter's administration has been talking with the Sheriff's Office about its budget. He did not indicate whether it would support the increase.

- Jan Ransom