What does “Toy Story,” “Robin Hood,” and “The Andy Griffith Show” have in common? Sheriffs.
Wasatch County Sheriff Jared Rigby is much better than a fictional character from a movie or old TV show. Guilty of incredible credentials, impeccable character, and indisputable concern and innovation, Jared just finished his first year as sheriff.
An Open Case
The sheriff’s rigorous responsibilities include; Correction and Court Security, including the jail, civil papers, the 911 Center, Search and Rescue, Emergency Management, public safety, community outreach, and more. Wasatch has 60 full-time deputies that patrol, investigate, and work the jail and ten civilian employees. Search and Rescue operates with 30 volunteers. Without a reasonable doubt, Wasatch County is a big responsibility.
Jared is a gracious leader. He shared, “It’s important for me to talk about the good work of our employees, they work hard. They and their families sacrifice for the community. They’re always in harm’s way, and always working hard with EMS, Fire, and Search and Rescue. All those first responders are trying to serve the community. I love it when, especially at the beginning of anything, the focus is on the good work that they do.”
Jared grew up in Thousand Oaks and Moorpark, California. While in high school, he moved to Heber. Jared was always interested in law enforcement and the legal side of things. He had great examples to follow. His uncle was an attorney, and his next-door neighbor, Steven Hansen, was a Wasatch County Attorney and later a 4th district court judge. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in political science at BYU, he took a few years to decide what route to take next while working at the jail. In 2004, he and his wife Krisann headed to the University of North Dakota, where he received a joint master’s degree in law and public administration. Shortly after studying for the bar and working part-time in Heber, Jared became the Chief Deputy to Todd Bonner. He’s also been a law clerk under Utah Judge Derek Pullan and worked at a North Dakota prosecutor’s office. In 2015, Jared was able to go to the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. It’s a three-month training that Utah can send one person to each year, so it’s a prestigious honor to be able to attend.
Not only does he have a demanding job, but his family also keeps him busy. Jared and Krisann have nine children, ages ranging from 1-21. He handles it all by staying involved within the community and taking part in interests outside the office as much as possible. He enjoys running with his wife and participating in half marathons and other races. His kids are involved in playing musical instruments, theater, and swimming. He even found time to be in “The Messiah” with two of their kids. He makes time for family vacations one or two times a year, usually to Bear Lake or St. George. This summer, their family will be part of the Hill Cumorah Pageant in New York. Jared is also active in his church and currently serves as Vice-President of the Wasatch County Republican Party.
Jared has been innovative in multiple areas, including school safety, employee retention, professionalism, and community outreach.
The Wasatch County Sheriff’s office leads the state in school safety. The school district, county council and manager, have come together to make it financially possible to have a full-time resource officer at every school by financing those positions 50/50. There isn’t another place in Utah that they’re aware of that does this. The building entrances have also been updated. All of this came about because of a public meeting and citizens wanting more security. School safety is a top priority in keeping the community safe.
A unique challenge has been retaining employees. The county has lost nearly 25% of its patrol deputies to outside agencies in the last year. Jared, along with County Manager Mike Davis and the county council, has been working on competitive pay, tuition reimbursements, and merit increases for things like education, and bilingual skills.
With our total population being around 14% Hispanic/Latino, reaching out to everyone is important to Jared. He stated that “The culture and language can be different enough that we need to take it into account. If we don’t have officers that speak Spanish, then how are we going to reach some folks and be approachable? In law enforcement, we need to be inclusive.”
He wants his deputies to always be learning and involved in education. It helps with communication, tolerance, and inclusiveness. He wants every employee to be an instructor in some form of law enforcement, critical skill, or knowledge base because they learn more by teaching and keeping current with cases.
One of Jared’s top concerns is suicide and suicide prevention, which he addressed during his campaign. Wasatch County and Heber City police get 5-6 calls a month relating to suicide. Jared expresses what’s important, “This is one of the biggest things — building relationships in the community so that we can all help each other. When difficult things happen in a community, we need to be able to have relationships that weather the storm. Relationships are essential for law enforcement in a community, to try to understand each other. We’re trying to serve, that’s our number one thing.”
Deputy Sheriff and School Resource Officer at Daniels Canyon Elementary, Steve Mecham (who’s worked at the office for 20 years), says this, “Sheriff Rigby has many great attributes and qualities that he brings to the office of sheriff. I am always impressed with his priorities and goals and his tireless and meticulous pursuit of them. Sheriff Rigby has his priorities correct. At the top of the list, as always, with him is the safety of the community that he serves. Next are the people that he works with and their families. Sheriff Rigby is always looking for ways to improve the quality of life for everyone in every scenario and every interaction.”
Jared Rigby is impressively guilty of serving, protecting, building, and leading this valley as Wasatch County Sheriff.