PIERCETON — The official campaign for sheriff by Chris Rager was kicked off Thursday evening at the Old Train Depot, Pierceton, with a gathering of family and friends offering support.
His brief campaign kickoff speech started with a recording of Paul Harvey’s narrative “Policemen,” which Rager noted those things talked about in the narrative were the truth about him, along with being a husband, father, church member and more.
Rager, who has always had a servant’s heart, spoke of his history in the military, instructing camps, being a coach and serving his church. He noted he had no direction in life after finishing high school. He went into the service as other Espinoza men have done. “It opened my eyes to the world and the type of people in the world.”
He spoke about his police career, starting at North Webster Police Department for three years, and then with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department for 18 years.
He also stressed he will not talk down about his opponents or former sheriff Aaron Rovenstine. He noted the sheriff’s department that has been built is good, “we are a good department, we’ve always been a good department.”
“… Kind eye and a kind heart that is the legacy that I’d like to leave. I am a servant. My position at the sheriff’s department is servant leadership … when you call me, my job is to serve you … I’m also a leader, a leader of the troops, my employees, my family, my church … it’s a fine line, but they do intersect. We’ve been lucky at the sheriff’s department; we’ve always had a godly man in leadership and we need to continue that.”
He pointed out three campaign points: teamwork, accountability and leadership. He noted he would “work to build an inclusive environment where we can tackle problems. My idea shouldn’t necessarily be the one that wins — the best idea should win. And whether that idea comes from one of my deputies, another department or a community member — whatever is best for the residents of Kosciusko County will be the mandate.”
Regarding accountability, he noted the sheriff is accountable to the residents and his employees. He plans to “continue to be highly visible in the community to allow for interactions with citizens so I can hear and address their concerns. While I will take the administrative role of the sheriff seriously, I do not intend to stay behind a desk all day.”
Rager believes the sheriff’s department is ready for the “next generation of leadership. As I’m developing as a leader, I want to be intentional and focused on our deputies leadership skills as well. I want to encourage and advocate for them to take leadership positions in our county. I will continue my speaking engagements in our schools. These young people are future leaders of our county and our best opportunity to influence them is when they are in our schools.”