The Casselton Reporter asked the Sheriff's Candidates a Series of Questions. Here are Sheriff Jahner's Responses
Sheriff Jahner's response to the Casselton Reporter Questions:
Casselton Reporter: Please Introduce yourself.
Jesse's Answer: I grew up in a law enforcement and military family. My Grandpa was the Sheriff in Emmons County North Dakota, and my dad was a full-time member of the Army National Guard of which he retired after thirty-five years of service. I graduated High School from Fargo North High in 1991 and attended North Dakota State University where I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Humanities and Social Sciences Emphasis in Criminal Justice. Upon graduating I accepted a position with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office in May of 1998 where I have been employed ever since. I am married to my wife Tonya, and we have two dogs, Trooper who we adopted, and Koda. We have not been successful in having children. I have sponsored two children, Tsion and Birtukan from Ethiopia since 2017 through my church and Compassion International providing financial support so they both could attend school and be provided with basic daily needs.
Casselton Reporter: Why are you Choosing to run for Cass County Sheriff?
Jesse's Answer: I have served as your Cass County Sheriff for the past three years and am seeking re-election to serve another term. I believe in servant leadership. Growing up in this community, I am 100% vested in serving to keep Cass County safe, and a great place to raise a family. As your elected Sheriff I work directly for you the citizens. I will continue to work hard to earn your trust and protect your constitutional rights. Over the past three years my team and I have worked hard to move our agency in positive, forward-thinking direction. I have worked to increase pay and benefits for our staff while remaining fiscally responsible. We have continued to add additional training in order to provide a high level of public safety. We have worked to earn your trust by building strong community partnerships while remaining transparent. We have trained with our rural first responders, schools, businesses to help prepare for critical incident response. These are challenging times for law enforcement. Whether it is coming up with strategies to prevent criminal activity, finding strategies to better deal with addiction and mental health issues, or working towards changing the perception of the law enforcement profession we have accepted the challenge. When there is adversity there is opportunity and now is a great time to be a leader to initiate positive change.
Casselton Reporter: What best qualifies you to be Sheriff?
Jesse's Answer: Experience and Education. Over my time at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, I have had the opportunity to serve in all capacities of law enforcement which has given me the experience to understand all divisions inside our organization. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office has approximately 240 employees when fully staffed and an approximate twenty-four-million-dollar budget. The Sheriff needs to have a working knowledge of all divisions within the organization to effectively lead the office. I have worked in corrections, patrol, investigations, and narcotics. I have supervised our patrol and investigations division, the metro area street crimes unit, our school resource deputies, public information officer, training, special operations and was the Assistant Commander of the Red River Valley SWAT Team. I have extensive leadership training through attending the International Chiefs of Police Leadership in Police Organizations Training, the Department of Homeland Security’s Leadership Academy, FBI’s Supervisor-Command and Executive Leadership Institute, National Tactical Officers Critical Incident Risk Mitigation Training, and have attended the National Command and Staff Law Enforcement Leadership College. I am a State and National Certified Law Enforcement Instructor, Peace Officer Standards and Training Board Member, Crime Victim Services Board Member, Regional Dispatch Board Member, and I serve as Vice Chair of the Dakota Territories Sheriff’s Association.
Casselton Reporter: What do you believe are the most important issues currently facing the Cass County Sheriff’s Office?
Jesse's Answer: The biggest challenges facing the Cass County Sheriff’s Office currently are nationwide law enforcement staffing shortages and inadequate space needs at the jail. Both of which are currently impacting us. Nationwide law enforcement has been facing law enforcement staffing shortages. Incarceration space needs have also become more prevalent as we are starting to see more challenges with increased mental health issues and addiction issues.
Casselton Reporter: If elected how do you plan to address the issues you identified as most important?
Jesse's Answer: My team and I have worked diligently on recruitment and retention strategies over the past year. I have worked with our commissioners to look for ways to increase pay and benefits while remaining fiscally responsible. We have added hiring bonuses and a higher starting wage. We have formed a recruitment and retention team to come up with strategies to improve in these areas. We have also worked to be more efficient and speed up our hiring process. The jail faced some challenges during the pandemic, and we continue to struggle with space needs as we deal with increased mental health issues and addiction issues. The current design of the jail does not accommodate some of these incarceration needs. I am currently working with commissioners to come up with a solution for more space. In addition, I am working with legislators at a state level to come up with statewide solutions for mental health and addiction services and additional beds at the state hospital level. In order to maintain public safety, we need to have the proper space to incarcerate those who commit criminal offenses and victimize our citizens.