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By Sara Seidel/Richmond News
Voters casting ballots in the Ray County’s sheriff’s race in November’s general election will see a different name on the Republican side of the ballot.
Jay Bertrand is the party’s candidate following the primary candidate’s departure from the race.
Bertrand says he entered the race because he thinks he can make a difference and make changes to the Ray County Sheriff’s Department.
“I’m running because I’ve heard from residents that change is badly needed,” Bertrand says, adding that he’s witnessed the need first-hand. “I feel the citizens of Ray County deserve better than what they’re getting from the current sheriff’s administration.”
Bertrand lists changes he deems necessary. First, he says, the department needs to be accountable for its expenditures. It needs to report those expenditures accurately and improve its record-keeping practices.
Next, he says, the department needs to improve the services offered to the community.
Finally, the department needs to enhance its public image, as well as its relationships with other law enforcement agencies in the county.
As sheriff, Bertrand says he would address each of those issues.
Additionally, he says he would provide better management of detention facilities, increase patrols in rural areas of the county and improve safety on county roadways.
“I want to make Ray roadways safe by removing DWI, suspended and revoked drivers,” Bertrand says.
Bertrand’s strategies are borne from his life’s work in law enforcement. After graduating from high school in Sioux City, Iowa, Bertrand and his wife moved to Missouri in 1984. He earned his associate’s degree in criminal justice from Maple Woods Community College, and, after graduating from the sheriff’s academy at the University of Missouri-Columbia, he joined Clay County Sheriff’s Department in 1987.
With that agency, Bertrand has served in a variety of capacities. His career began in the detention division, where he was responsible for all aspects of inmate processing, including monitoring, housing, transporting and booking inmates. He also coordinated inmates’ labor duties and supervised the inmate work-release program.
While in field operations, he carried out uniformed patrol functions, including responding to calls and intervening in crises. He also processed crime scenes and conducted follow-up investigations. He prepared reports and developed cases to forward to the prosecutor’s office.