Jared Buchanan sworn in as sheriff after receiving 55% of votes in GOP caucus

Sanpete County Clerk Sandy Neill (right) swears in newly-elected Sanpete County Sheriff Jared Buchannan on Thursday, Feb. 4.


Jared Buchanan sworn in as sheriff

after receiving 55% of

votes in GOP caucus


By Robert Stevens

Managing editor




There is a new sheriff in town.

During a special online conference of delegates from the Sanpete County Republican Party on Tuesday, Feb. 2, Jared Buchannan was chosen to be the next Sanpete County Sheriff.

“We feel confident the sheriff’s office will be in good hands under Sheriff Buchannan,” said Steve Clark, chairman of the Sanpete County Republican Party. “We were fortunate to have a field of exceptionally qualified applicants. I would have been comfortable with any one of them. The consensus of the party was clear. Jared is exceptionally qualified on the basis of education experience and temperament.”

The Sanpete Republican delegates selected Buchanan from a total of three applicants for the position. Out of 273 delegates, 229 cast their votes to choose the new sheriff. Buchannan came away with 55.1 percent of the votes. Keith Jensen came in second with 24.8 percent of the vote. Rick Rasmussen garnered 21.1 percent.

After Buchannan was elected, the Sanpete County Commission ratified the results and appointed him the new county sheriff on Thursday, Feb. 4.

“I’m excited,” Buchannan told the Messenger. “We’ve got a great group of officers and a great staff.  I’ve worked with a lot of them that are already here. I’m excited to come in.”

Buchannan said in the meeting of Sanpete Republican delegates that he had several long term goals for the sheriff’ office, not the least of which is working on recruiting new, young deputies to swell the ranks of the department as older members retire. He also wants to see the department bring on a K-9 unit to expand the capabilities during traffic stops and searches.

“Hopefully his leadership will provide a K-9 capacity soon, and a new cadre of younger school resource officers as our current ones retire,” Clark said. “I think Sheriff Buchannan’s experience outside the county will bring new and innovative programs and renewed enthusiasm to the department.”

For now, though, Buchannan says he wants to make a smooth transition into the position and get into the swing of things as the county’s new top lawman.

“Right now I’m just looking to continue in the success that the sheriff’s office has had,” he says. “That’s the main agenda for now.”

The sheriff’s position was vacated after Gov. Spencer Cox asked former-sheriff Brian Nielson to step into the role of executive director for the Utah Department of Corrections. Buchannan will serve as sheriff for the remainder of Nielson’s term and must seek re-election at the end of the term.

The process to choose Buchannan, and handle other part business, was a lot different during the pandemic than it had been in the past, Clark says.  Before COVID-19, delegates would gather in-person to vote on an important position like the sheriff, but with social distancing encouraged at every level right now, the Sanpete Republican party had to turn to technology to pull it off.

“A virtual convention presented challenges we have never faced before,” Clark says. “Thanks to the exceptional work of LuAnn Greenwell, our secretary/treasurer, and David Garff, our vice-chair, who handled all the IT stuff, I went remarkably well. We had 229 of 273 delegates cast votes which rivals any in-person convention we have ever had. It’s likely our upcoming county organizing convention will be mostly virtual as well. I think this experience bodes very well for that event.”