Sheriff Joshua Saaranen
Address: 403 E Houghton Ave. Houghton, MI 49931
“Sheriff Saaranen has committed to serving the area in which he was raised, graduating from Jeffers High School, Gogebic Community College, and Northern Michigan Universities Regional Police Academy. He began his career as a police officer with the Forsyth Township Police Department after graduating from police academy. After serving the Forsyth Police Department for three years, Sheriff Saaranen moved back home to Houghton County where he began his career with the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office. He is a 4th generation
Houghton County resident.
Since joining the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office in 2007, Sheriff Saaranen has held many roles and responsibilities within the office. He began as a field service deputy working the road and in the jail. During this time, he had the opportunity to serve as a plain clothes deputy assisting the detective with narcotics investigations. He was then promoted to the supervisor position with the rank of sergeant. During his time as sergeant, Sheriff Saaranen not only supervised his shift but became active with a team of trainers for active shooter/violence training. Being a part of this team, he was able to assist in training hundreds of teachers, civilians, local businesses, offices and local law enforcement a proactive approach to responding to acts of violence. Sheriff Saaranen then accepted a role as an undercover narcotics detective sergeant with the UPSET West multijurisdictional task force. Sheriff served in this capacity for just under 3 years where he had been appointed to “team leader”. During this time several of the task force cases were prosecuted on the federal level to combat the methamphetamine and opiate drug problem in the western upper peninsula. When Sheriff Saaranen left the UPSET West team he was promoted to the position of detective lieutenant for the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office until he was appointed Sheriff of Houghton County in 2021.
Sheriff Saaranen has completed several trainings and continuing education throughout his career that have assisted him in keeping Houghton County a safer place. Some of these trainings have included Homicide school through Michigan State University and the Michigan State Police, Several Michigan State Police trainings including Investigator schools, narcotics schools, RAID school, Medicolegal death investigation through the Wayne State School of Medicine, Strategos International train the trainer for school violence and police response, MSA Mission Investigations, basic supervision training to name a few.
Sheriff Saaranen had served the Village of South Range as a trustee before becoming Sheriff. He was recognized as Houghton County Police Officer of the year in 2018. Sheriff Saaranen enjoys outdoor activities, hunting, fishing and spending time with family.
Sheriff Saaranen strongly believes in serving all the citizens of Houghton County with fairness, respect and professionalism. Sheriff Saaranen is not only tough on crime but believes in service and transparency.