Wright County voters this spring will select their next sheriff. Paul Schultz retired from his position on Friday after 12 years on the job. On Saturday,Jim Lester announced he would seek the position of sheriff. In a press release, Lester said that out of respect for the sheriff,he wanted to wait until Schultz's retirement became official before he announced his candidacy. Born and raised in Wright County, Lester,46 has been working public service for 27 years. He began his career in law enforcement as a Reserve Officer with the Clarion Police Department in 1986. In 1987,he joined the Clarion Ambulance Service and received his EMT training through Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. In 1989 he was hired as Eagle Grove's Director of EMS and also worked as a police officer. Lester graduated from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in 1989 and returned full time to the Clarion Police Department in 1990. He has been an EMS Instructor since 1990 and has trained nearly 100 EMTs throughout north central Iowa. Sheriff Vern Elston hired Lester as a Deputy Sheriff in 1992 and following the election of Sheriff Schultz in 2000, Lester was appointed Chief Deputy and Jail Administrator. He has received training from the National Institute of Corrections in Jail Administration and Budgeting for Small Jails.
In 2008, Lester volunteered to add the role of Emergency Management Coordinator to his duties. As the Emergency Management Coordinator he assisted citizens and communities in the county respond and recover through two Presidential Disaster Declarations. Lester was responsible for the forming fo the Wright County CodeRed partnership providing the citizens of the county with emergency phone, text and email notifications along with severe weather alerts. He received his Iowa Certified Emergency Management Coordinator status in 2011.He is a member of the Iowa Emergency Management Association, Wright County Sexual Assault Response Team,Iowa Law Enforcement Intelligence Network and for the past year has worked closely with the Iowa Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. He works closely with DHS in the investigation of child abuse cases in Wright County.Lester is past president of the Wright County EMS Association and is a member of the Clarion United Presbyterian Church where he serves as an Elder and has served on the personnel and finance committees. He also serves on the Clarion Goldfield Sports Boosters Bond. He was a foster parent for 10 years and has 3 adopted children. He also served on the Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association Board of Directors.
The Wright County Supervisors are expected to set the date of April 16th for the election for Wright County Sheriff.