The Perry County Commission appointed Perry County Detective Jason Klaus to serve as Perry County Sheriff. The appointment occurred at the commission’s regular session meeting on Thursday. With his family, friends and colleagues present, Klaus was sworn into office immediately following the commission’s unanimous decision.
State statute directed the commission to seek a replacement sheriff to fill the remaining two years of the term of office that was vacated by Gary Schaaf at the end of September. Klaus was serving as the sheriff’s department manager over the last two weeks while the commission solicited applications from individuals who met the state-mandated requirements to serve as sheriff. The group reviewed recommendations from a variety of sources, both inside the sheriff’s department, and external community groups before determining Klaus should serve.
Presiding Commissioner Mike Sauer said Klaus’s credentials and more than two decades of experience at the sheriff’s department made him a logical choice for the appointment.
“We received letters of support for Jason Klaus from both the Republican and Democratic Central Committees,” Sauer said. “His coworkers at the department, and former sheriff Gary Schaaf also said Klaus was the right person for the job. The fact that people in this community who are also qualified to serve as sheriff didn’t apply, but instead lent their support to Jason speaks volumes.”
District One Commissioner Jay Wengert said it wasn’t just the letters that came in, but feed back from the community as well.
“Over the last two weeks, we’ve been approached many times by residents who wanted to let us know they felt Jason Klaus should be the next Perry County Sheriff,” Wengert said.
Perry County voters will see the sheriff seat on the ballot again in the August Primary, and November General Elections in 2024. Klaus’s term will expire on December 31, 2024.
Sheriff Jason Klaus is a lifelong Perry County resident, who started his law enforcement career with the Perry County Sheriff’s Department in 1996 where he has served as a jail officer, road deputy and detective. He is a 1994 graduate of Perryville High School, with a degree in Criminal Justice from Southeast Missouri State University. He graduated from Southeast Missouri Law Enforcement Academy in 1996. Klaus was the first to serve as Perry County District 32 School Resource Officer, a position he held from 1998 to 2011. He also serves as Missouri’s statewide Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator. He is an alderman for the City of Frohna, a board member for Southeast Missouri Prevention Resource Center, chairmen of Southeast Missouri CIT Council, and was appointed by Governor Mike Parson to Missouri Justice Reinvestment Executive Oversight Council. Klaus is a past member of several other community boards and organizations. He is a member of Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna and serves as Evangelism Chair for the church. He and his wife Kimberly have two daughters.
The new sheriff said he was prepared to tackle the responsibility.
“It is with great humility that I accept the appointment by the Perry County Commission the office of Perry County Sheriff,” he said. “This has been a lifelong desire to serve in this position. Today it is a reality, and it is something I take very seriously. I understand the monumental responsibility that comes with such a role.”
Klaus went on to offer thanks to former sheriff Gary Schaaf’s leadership through the years.
“I have served under Sheriff Schaaf my entire law enforcement career,” Klaus said. “He has been a tremendous mentor for me, and I am forever grateful.”
Klaus said he and his family are excited for the opportunity for him to continue his service to Perry County and the citizens.
“I pray for God’s strength and wisdom through this process.”
Perry County Sheriff’s Captain Jason Kelley, a more than twenty-year veteran of the department said
“Everyone within the Perry County Sheriff’s Office respects and appreciates any guidance received from Jason Klaus,” he said. “He has a long history of continuing contact with victims and defendants from prior investigations and these people highly respect him. He has the ability of moving the Perry County Sheriff’s Office forward. There is no doubt in my mind he will be an excellent sheriff for the citizens of Perry County and for the employees at the Perry County Sheriff’s Office.”