Woodford County Sheriff Primary Election

It has been nearly a year since I’ve posted on this blog.  With the new Village Board in place, and doing a fine job, there hasn’t been much to write about.

But as we approach Tuesday’s primary election for Sheriff, it has struck me that the election may be decided by who has the most and biggest political signs.  And that doesn’t seem like a good way to choose a Sheriff.

I confess, I’ve not met any of the three Republican candidates.  I’ve listened to what they’ve said in short television appearances.  They all may be good people.  There wasn’t much to judge them on, except for their experience.

Two of the candidates are former members of the Sheriff’s department.  Both of them are running on their experience in that department.  Neither of them has suggested any other outside relevant experience.

The third candidate, Craig Baner, did not work there.  He worked for 27 years in the Illinois State Police, and ended his career as Chief of the Illinois Commerce Commission police.  During his career, he received police training at the FBI Training Accademy at Quantico, Virginia.

I writing today to suggest that the Woodford Sheriff’s office could use that outside managerial experience of Craig Baner.  When I was on the Village Board, I saw how the Sheriff’s department operated with the Village.  When we would suggest seeing data on effectiveness of patrols in the Village, it was intermittent and hard to obtain.  When we asked about the reduction in citations issued for cars speeding through the Village and trucks running through red lights on Rte 116, the previous Sheriff said that he couldn’t press his deputies to do more because a state law prevented quotas.  But when I talked to a lieutenant in a much larger police force, he said that you certainly can direct officers to increase citations if that is what is needed for the citizens’ safety.

My conclusion from our interactions with the Sheriff convinced me that the management style in the Woodford County Sheriff’s Department was old-fashioned, not modern and professional.  It seemed like the most important goal was to keep the deputies happy. 

This doesn’t prove the the management style of the two candidates whose experience has been entirely in the Woodford County Sheriff’s office is necessarily bad.  But one might conclude that they’ve not had an opportunity to learn about anything better. 

The election is this coming Tuesday.  If you agree with my concerns, be sure to forward this to your friends.  It would seem that the Woodford County Sheriff’s Department, as well as its deputies, would benefit from the experience that Craig Baner would bring to the force. 

Terry Quinn

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