The two candidates for the Republican nomination for Kane County sheriff have more than five combined decades of experience between them.
If elected, Kevin Williams and Donald Kramer would plot different courses of action as part of their first steps.
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Williams, 54, of Geneva, is a 22-year veteran of the department. A lieutenant, Williams says he has strong backing from employees and would reorganize the command staff as his first move.
"I have a huge advantage. I have the most support from management and employees in the sheriff's office," Williams said. "Bottom line is I can wake up and say, 'Let's go do this,' because I have the support from most of the staff employees."
Williams lost the 2006 election to Democrat Pat Perez, who is not seeking a third term.
Kramer, 55, of Geneva, lost to Perez in the 2010 election. Kramer served 30 years at the department before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in late 2009. He says his time away from law enforcement has allowed him to talk more with residents.
"First and foremost, we need to have a strong administrative structure. We need to implement what we're doing in such a way that we have measurable success," he said.
Kramer sees a greater role for lieutenants to identify problems for patrol officers to address -- and cut down on their unallocated time -- as well as place a greater emphasis on community policing.
"I don't want to criticize any of the supervisors. But again, leadership comes from the top, and I'm not sure a lot of the upper administration really has a good idea of what the big picture is, how we can better serve our citizens," Kramer said. "To me, it means getting into the neighborhoods and doing our job better. We can become more efficient just by knowing what our problems are."
Williams and Kramer both agree the sheriff's office needs more officers, but they don't think it's the right time to ask the cash-strapped county board for more employees.
Williams said he would assign lieutenants to a particular shift, which was changed when Perez took over eight years ago.
"Right now, your sergeants are doing all the managerial work. They're not able to be on the streets with their men as often as they should be. As lieutenant of the shift, he can oversee all operations," Williams said. "This is about the future, not the past. We have a lot of good leaders within management positions at the sheriff's office."
The winner of the March 18 primary election will advance to the Nov. 4 election to take on Democrat Willie Mayes Sr., a sergeant at the sheriff's department.