Purcell won’t seek re-election
BIG RAPIDS — Jared Christensen, a deputy with the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office and chief of police with the village of Morley, will be entering the race for the office of Mecosta County Sheriff in the 2020 election.
Christensen, 38, of Big Rapids, announced his plans to run for office on the Republican ticket after learning Todd Purcell, the current sheriff in Mecosta County, will not be seeking re-election this year.
“There has been talk that the seat may be open in the upcoming election, and several people have approached me in the last few months and asked that I consider running for sheriff,” Christensen said. “After dozens of conversations with community leaders, business owners and a great cross-section of local residents, I am excited to lead the sheriff’s department into the new decade.”
Purcell confirmed he will not be running for sheriff in 2020 after Christensen issued a news release declaring his entrance in the race and some of his goals if he is elected.
“This is my 29th year here in this office serving Mecosta County, and I feel it’s time to pass the torch and move on to new things,” Purcell said. “At this point, I’m not supporting anyone in the race, but that may change after the filing deadline.”
Although excited about running for the office of sheriff, Christensen said he has enjoyed his time working with Purcell.
“I’ve had a great working relationship with the sheriff’s office since I’ve been there,” Christensen said. “I’ve also enjoyed working with Todd. He’s always had an open-door policy.”
As Christensen gears up for election season, he said he is ready to take on new challenges.
“It’s always exciting to do something new. I feel like I’ve worked with the best people in the business, and hopefully we can continue to make things better,” he said.
While Christensen has many goals for the position if he is elected, he said one of his top concerns is bringing a renewed community focus to the department.
“I’d like to see us more human-oriented,” he said. “I’d like to reach out more to the community to see what they think about laws that change and how it affects their lives.”
One way Christensen said he hopes to accomplish this goal of resident interaction is by establishing a Citizen’s Academy, where people can learn more about local law enforcement.
“By involving the community members in our sheriff’s office, we will learn from them, and they will learn how they can help to keep their communities safe,” he said.
In addition to working more with the public, Christensen said his campaign will focus on combating the “crimes of today,” including cyber crimes, the drug epidemic and scams.
“As technology changes, everything changes with it. We see a lot of cyber crimes, and my goal with that is to update the way we enforce laws, as far as the technology we have and training,” he said.
Christensen said while part of his goal is to improve the way officers search for offenders, he also hopes to find ways to stop people from committing additional crimes.
“In the coming years and beyond, we will see new crimes and find new ways to fight them,” he said. “That means we have to focus on reform. We must reform the way we search out offenders and bring them to justice — but with that, we also have to find ways to reform offenders and offer them the support they need to avoid becoming a repeat offender.”
Kevin Lamb, a local business owner and Mecosta County resident, said he is excited to support Christensen’s campaign.
“He is a family-man who has a long track record of keeping our community safe while being fair and just when applying the law,” Lamb said.
Christensen resides in Mecosta Township with his wife and their three children. He said in his free time he enjoys fishing, golfing and farming.
According to the Mecosta County Clerk’s Office, no one has formally filed to run for sheriff yet.