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'I always wanted to help other people:' Meet Siskiyou County's new undersheriff

Bill Choy
Siskiyou Daily News
Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department Undersheriff James Randall

James Randall began his career with the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department as a resident deputy serving the Dunsmuir area more than 20 years ago. On Nov. 1, he began his duties as undersheriff – the second in command in the department – where he's in charge of department operations. 

Randall takes over for Karl Houtman, who recently retired from the department. Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue also recently began his duties, taking over for retired sheriff Jon Lopey. 

“I’m very excited to take this position,” Randall said. “I’m ready to help the department continue to move forward in a positive way and to serve the people that live here.” 

Randall was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to Siskiyou County just before high school. 

More:Siskiyou supervisors select Jeremiah LaRue as new Siskiyou County Sheriff

He graduated from Yreka High School in 1993 and joined the United States Marines. He served for four years before returning to Siskiyou County and joining the sheriff’s department. 

Randall enjoyed his experience in the Marines and the opportunity to see the country and world. But in his travels, he came to the realization that the small town, close knit communities of Siskiyou County were something he missed. Randall decided he wanted to return to Siskiyou County to make a difference. 

“I knew this was the place I wanted grow some roots in,” he said.  “I always wanted to help other people ... I felt compelled to go into law enforcement to help those that can’t help themselves. I’ve had my ups and downs, but overall, I've been blessed by this career,” Randall added. 

Over the years, Randall has had a number of duties in the sheriff's department, including being a K-9 handler and a member of the special response team. As a detective sergeant he was in charge of the major crime's unit, which includes investigating homicides in the county. 

He said this was a challenging position, but one where he felt he was doing vital work. For him, it was rewarding to try to solve these crimes, to form relationships with the families of the victims and to be a resource for them.

“I still carry many of these relationships to this day,” Randall said.  

A priority for him and Sheriff LaRue is to build positive relationships with the community and find ways for everyone at the sheriff's department to engage with those in the county, be a positive resource and to be as efficient as possible.

Randall said while Siskiyou County is a large, spread out area in terms of size, it is small in terms of population. He said the county has a small-town atmosphere where people know one another and look out for each other, and that the sheriff's department wants to work on continuing to best meet the needs of its citizens.