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Jesse Jahner announces candidacy for Cass County sheriff

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Jesse Jahner, a captain with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, announces his candidacy for sheriff on Tuesday, Dec. 19. Blake Gumprecht / The Forum2 / 2

FARGO — Jesse Jahner, a captain with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, became the first person to announce that he will run for sheriff in November 2018 in hopes of replacing Sheriff Paul Laney, who plans to retire.

Laney appeared at the news conference at which Jahner made the announcement and endorsed Jahner to be his replacement.

“I can’t think of a better person to lead the Cass County Sheriff’s Office into the future,” Laney said. “He is a natural leader. Every time he works on an issue … he nails it and gets it right.”

Jahner, 44, who lives in south Fargo, has worked for the Cass County Sheriff’s Office for 19 years. He worked at the Cass County Jail for two years and then became a deputy, a position he held for six years.

He was promoted to detective in 2006, sergeant in 2011, and captain last year. He now supervises several divisions in the sheriff’s office, including the patrol, training, and emergency preparedness divisions. He is also an assistant commander for the Red River Valley SWAT team.

“I’ve worked in many different areas within law enforcement, and I believe that adds to my experience and what I would bring to the position of sheriff,” Jahner said. “This is something I’ve been preparing for all of my career.”

Jahner and Laney have worked together since 2002 when Laney was a Fargo police lieutenant and commander of the Red River Valley SWAT team, and Jahner joined the team. Jahner said that if he is elected sheriff, he plans to follow Laney’s model and does not envision making any major changes to the sheriff’s office.

“We can always get better,” Jahner said. “But he’s done a great job. I’m just going to try to continue that and move forward.”

Since joining the sheriff’s office in 1998, Jahner has received two distinguished service medals, three meritorious unit citations, a sheriff’s medal and a combat action ribbon. His personnel file includes 87 pages of letters, emails and other documents commending his performance, and one reprimand for backing into a car in a parking lot.

Jahner grew up mostly in Strasburg, North Dakota. His father was a career military man, and his grandfather was sheriff of Emmons County.

He moved to Fargo in high school and graduated from North High School. He then entered North Dakota State University, earning a bachelor of science in humanities and social sciences with a criminal justice emphasis.

Sheriff Laney announced on Dec. 4 that he would not seek re-election to a fourth term as sheriff. Laney has said he intends to retire from law enforcement when his term ends Dec. 31, 2018.