Why do you want to be the Morgan County Sheriff?
I look forward to continue to serve the citizens of Morgan County. Morgan County is a
rewarding place to call home, and we must work hard to protect all of the citizens of Morgan County. I know Morgan County, and now more than ever we need an aggressive deterrent to crime and other threats to our good people.
2. What do you think is the single most important skill of being a good sheriff?
Leadership. With just one word it describes management, direction, control, and guidance.
3. As the sheriff you would have supervise 14 sworn deputies responsible for the enforcement of traffic laws and criminal laws. What experience do you have in managing personnel?
As of December 1st, 2006, I was promoted to Chief Deputy of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. I am now, and have been for the past 11 years, the supervisor of the 13 sworn deputies that are under my command. In addition, I am the supervisor of the heads of all the departments of this office: Chief of Patrol division, Courthouse security, Detectives/Investigations Lieutenant, Jail Administrator/Correctional staff, Telecommunications, and the Office Administrator and her staff. In total, I have been the supervisor of 47 employees everyday for the past 11 years.4. With all that has happened in the last year in this country, how will you foster an environment that ensures fair treatment of all people served by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office?
Greater transparency of law enforcement activities and records have been identified as an opportunity to maintain or build trust between the community and law enforcement. Our State Legislature has passed many unfunded mandates to assist law enforcement with improving relations with the community. The Sheriff’s department complies with these mandates by providing data on traffic and pedestrian stops to identify potential discrimination or illegal profiling during these law enforcement activities. We provide records to people requesting those documents through the Freedom of Information Act. Recent legislation requiring third party investigations of police actions or negligence will help lead to greater transparency. It is very difficult to legislate or mandate people to follow the “Golden Rule”, but it should be taught to all new police personnel and reinforced by their supervisors that people should be treated as you would like to be treated. Experienced officers know that this type of professionalism establishes street credibility and enhances community support.
5. Morgan County is mainly a rural community. What are the specific issues in rural Morgan County and how will you address those issues?
Methamphetamine is a plague on society, including Morgan County. We see whole families from grandma and grandpa to the grand kids addicted to this horrific drug. The addiction drives criminal behavior which results in people in the county having their property stolen and their homes being broken into. From my experience taking residential burglary calls, car burglaries and other types of thefts, people are traumatized in that they don’t feel safe in their homes anymore or items such as their mother’s wedding ring and jewelry were stolen only to be sold for pennies on the dollar for drugs. Heroin and cocaine are also problem drugs that drive similar behavior. I have a specific plan to address this issue by utilizing all of the knowledge and expertise of the drug agents who have spent their law enforcement career fighting this plague.
6. What is your opinion of consolidated 911 and it is working for the off officers and citizens of the Morgan County Community?
I can describe my opinion of consolidated 911 center in just one word, cooperation. The idea was introduced several years ago but for whatever reason has always failed. This time we had the right group of people at the table. The Morgan County Board, Sheriff, Mayor, Chief of Police, Village President, Chief of Police, 911 Coordinator, and ESDA all focused on providing a better service to the citizens of Morgan County. All though consolidated 911 is still in its infancy, I think it is taking “minutes” off of response time for first responders when “seconds” mean lives.
7. Assess the recent performance of the sheriff’s department. If elected, would you continue in the same direction or change course?
If “performance” means that the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department is getting the job done in an efficient and effective manner; the answer is yes. Whether it’s the jail, courthouse, or field operations, we are mandated specific duties by the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Each employee is assigned specific duties to accomplish these mandates. So what we must do is mandated; how we go about doing it is generally matters of policies and procedures. This is all supplemented by training and supervision. Improving our performance is generally accomplished through communication and feedback from our employees and citizens. As the Sheriff, I will make sure to address all procedures, risk management, personnel discipline, and other administrative and operational issues.
8. What is biggest need of the sheriff’s department currently? What would you do to fill that need?
I believe assigning a person to function as the point person to coordinate resources and obtain available grant funding to identify and arrest drug dealers and traffickers providing methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine to people in our county is one of the biggest needs of the Sheriff’s Department.
9. With a police officer and corrections officer shortage, do you expect to deal with overtime or do you support the need for more part-time officers to deal with possible overtime?
Fortunately, Morgan County has two outstanding colleges that have an ample number of candidates to work at the Morgan County Detention Facility. Many of these young adults have an interest and desire to become part of the law enforcement community. Part-time correctional staff will only be used if a trained deputy assigned to corrections is present.
10. How do you define public safety and what policies and practices are you planning on implementing to help ensure it?
I would tend to describe public safety as it relates to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department as providing services as mandated by law for the safety of the public, proactively and re-actively addressing quality of life issues. This would include responding to calls for service and assisting a person having quality of life issues such as crime victims, mental health issues, drug addiction, alcoholism, truancy or juvenile problems, fires, vehicle crashes, natural disasters, and medical issues. I have no new policies or practices to address public safety issues. We will do as we have always done, address the situation and provide the necessary resources that are available. Public safety is our primary reason for doing this job.
11. In what way will you implement current and available technology advancements to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department? What benefits do you believe they will have on public and officer safety?
Currently, all Morgan County squad cars are equipped with in-car video systems. These systems will all need to be replaced in the near future. I am hoping to implement the use of body cameras into the in-car video system. I think this will improve public safety and reduce civil liability.
12. What is your experience with setting up a budget and using it to make sure staff, equipment, and building needs are met?
I have been in charge of the Morgan County budget for the past ten years. Sheriff Duvendack takes great pride in staying within our budget and being cost efficient. With this in mind, I have used creative ways to acquire computer equipment, office furniture, vehicles, and several other items that are needed for his department. My understanding and preparation of budgeting is why we have stayed within our budget over the past ten years.
13. Would you encourage your deputies to talk to first time offenders, especially juveniles, as an effort to teach them the error of their ways?
If I am fortunate enough to have the people of Morgan County elect me as Sheriff, the Deputies at that time will be thinking “how would I like to have my son treated if a policeman was talking to him as a first time offender,” and I know this, because I will re-enforce the “Golden Rule” concept to the Deputies and the Supervisors. I can assure you that the majority of Deputies at the jail, on patrol and in investigations, take the time to treat people in this manner while providing great customer service.
14. If you were elected, describe how the sheriff’s department would look/be four years from now?
You learn a lot from this process, although it can be frustrating at times. That being said, I have been tasked with labor negotiations, budgeting, and many other administrative and personnel functions over the last 11 years. I’ve found innovative ways to start or fund programs; such as a $75,000 grant to purchase a fully equipped K-9 vehicle. I would like to implement some risk management initiatives by exploring some online training programs for legal updates, improving our policy and procedure manual to provide better guidance for officers and supervisors, especially as it relates to low frequency high liability issues such as pursuits and use of deadly force. I believe after four years you will see a more professional group of deputies with the attitude to protect your safety, your family, and your home.
15. Personal Bio Information here: Anything you wish to ad about yourself.
I began my law enforcement career at the Morgan County Sheriff’s
Office 31 years ago in May of 1986. While attending Eastern Illinois University, I was hired by
then Morgan County Sheriff Henry Jackson as a part-time dispatcher and corrections officer.
officer at the Morgan County Detention Center. In 1994, I became a Merit Deputy assigned to
the Patrol Division, where I served for 10 years. In 2004, I was then assigned to the
Detectives Division and promoted to the rank of Sergeant by former Morgan County Sheriff Jim
Robson. On December 1, 2006, I was appointed Chief Deputy Sheriff of the Morgan County
Sheriff’s Office by Sheriff Randy Duvendack and later to Lieutenant.
I am a lifelong Morgan County resident and the son of Coach Tom and
Jeanine Carmody. My wife Donna and I have four children, Chad Cantrell, Luke
Cantrell (wife Leah), Grant Carmody, and Molly Carmody, along with three grandchildren. We
are both graduates of Routt High School and currently reside in Jacksonville.