Zion resident Jason Patt, an investigator with the Lake County Coroner's office, said Thursday he will seek the Democratic nomination for Lake County Sheriff in the March primary.
Patt, 35, a Navy veteran, becomes the first announced challenger from either party for the seat held by Libertyville resident Mark Curran, a Republican serving his second four-year term. Curran considered a run for statewide office but said earlier this year he would seek re-election.
"The county needs someone who has focused their career and life on public safety and law enforcement rather than politics," said Patt, who is making his first run for public office.
Patt said he served in the Navy for eight years until 2004, including a six-month tour in Iraq. After he left the Navy, Patt said, he worked as a military patrolman with the Great Lakes police department and also with the sheriff's office before joining the coroner's staff as an investigator six years ago.
He said he has more than 1,000 hours of specialized law enforcement training. The county needs someone focused on those issues and who has been on the "front lines" in that regard.
Curran, Patt said in a statement, has "engaged in theatrics, chased headlines, and put his own needs attempting fame over the needs of the citizens he swore to protect." The sheriff also has lost the trust and respect of his department, Patt claimed.
He said the office needs new leadership focused on public safety not politics, and a "smarter approach" to challenges.