In the upcoming primary election, two candidates are running for the Republican nomination for Kane County Sheriff. They are: Donald Kramer of Geneva, a police officer; and Kevin Williams of Geneva, lieutenant of community policing and crime prevention at the Kane County Sheriff's office.
The Daily Herald asked the candidates some questions about campaign issues. Here are their answers.
Q. What differentiates you most from your opponents in the race?
Donald Kramer. I plan on building a professional organization that addresses the concerns of the community. My leadership experience at the Sheriff's Office is a good example of what can be accomplished with good ideas and teamwork. I also believe higher education, more experience, and advanced training across many disciplines has better prepared me to be sheriff.
Kevin Williams. Administrative Leadership: The knowledge I have gained through administrative experience, college courses in police management and as a graduate of Northwestern's School of Police Staff and Command, I have demonstrated I have the character to build trust and the competence to lead. I have the proper temperament to work with my fellow employees, other government bodies within our county, as well as our community members. As a Lieutenant with several administrative assignments, my organizational, planning and negotiation skills I have proven to be a good manager, but more importantly what sets me apart is my communication and influential skills which have made me a successful leader within the Sheriff's Office.
Knowledge and Experience: I bring 35 years of civil service dedication, blue collar experience!, and almost 22 years with the Kane County Sheriff's Office. I have made more felony criminal arrests than both of my opponents combined. I have criminal investigative experience, a thorough knowledge of crime scene protection/evidence collection, have investigated dangerous street gangs and worked as an undercover narcotics officer. I have built law enforcement coalitions throughout my tenure with the Sheriff's Office to achieve greater impact on gang and drug problems. I have made more felony criminal arrests than both of my opponents combined.
Community: My dedication to our communities for over 20 years uniquely qualifies me to understand the impact that crime is having on our communities. I have a strong record of getting to the core of the problem and coming to a solution, not just talking about them. Many Kane County residents know me. They have seen me working in their community for many years. That sets me apart. I'm not just doing something to show community service for a campaign. My devotion remains the same as before I decided to step up to run for office.
Q. What is the proper future use of the shell space at the county jail? When should the county begin to make use of that space?
Kramer. Now is the time to plan on finishing the shell, but not the time to spend millions of dollars in construction costs. I will work with the county board to complete the shell when a reserve capital account will cover the costs without creating an additional burden on taxpayers. Currently, the jail has the capacity to house inmates until that plan can be accomplished.
Williams. Expanding the county jail is an issue that has already been considered by the county. I believe that the shell space in the Kane County jail should be built out now, because the cost of building out in the future may increase. If we build more cell blocks for inmates, we could potentially take on more Federal prisoners. Housing Federal inmates generates revenue for the Sheriff's office that can be put to use without burdening the Kane County taxpayers. That said, if the jail is expanded, we should work with local mental health professionals to develop a facility that can better meet the needs of inmates that may be suffering from mental illness, to ensure the safety of both correctional personnel and all inmates.
Q. What can the sheriff's office do to address the increasing problem of heroin use in the county?
Kramer. Education is important, but healthy alternatives to negative behavior need to be made available to our youth. After-school programs, park district facilities and our libraries should be hubs of activities. As sheriff, I will work with organizations already involved with combating drug use and continue the Too Good for Drugs (DARE) program in our schools.
Williams. Continued education of the negative effects of heroin is extremely important in combating the heroin problem in Kane County. As the only candidate with a background in drug investigation, I have had the honor of sitting on a Heroin Panel which works in conjunction with other police departments, young people and families whose lives have been adversely affected by heroin use to educate the public. Educating the community on the very dangerous and very real threat of heroin is imperative in combating the drug's growing abuse. I understand that the face of heroin abuse has changed. The majority of heroin abuse begins in the form of prescription drugs, like OxyContin. The abuse of opiate pain killers, given their addictive nature, can lead people to heroin abuse. I have spearheaded the Sheriff's Office effort in educating the public, especially seniors, on how to properly discard their prescriptions and keep their prescriptions in a safe place to prevent theft. Through my efforts we have acquired a prescription drug drop-off box at the Sheriff's Office. I currently hold seminars for members of our communities on prescription drug abuse, teaching them how to educate their children about these drugs. Studies show that when parents educate their children about drug abuse children are 50% less likely to abuse drugs. I will use the Sheriff's Office as a major resource of education, but I also understand that working with families, schools, and local communities is the most effective way to educate, and thus, combat drug abuse. I already know the abuse of heroin is not only a law enforcement problem it is a community problem, and as your Sheriff I will continue to work with members of the community to combat heroin abuse through education.