John Idleburg: 2022 candidate for Lake County Sheriff


Party: Democrat

Office sought: Lake County Sheriff

City: Zion

Age: 66

Occupation: Lake County Sheriff

Previous offices held: Lake County Sheriff


Q: Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?

A: As Sheriff, my goal continues to be to bring Community and Law Enforcement together, working together to make Lake County safer.

Q: If you are an incumbent, describe two important initiatives you've led. If you're not an incumbent, describe two ways you would contribute to the position.

A: 1. I have created the Criminal Community Justice Counsel which is a group of community members and stakeholders. We meet throughout the year and look at dynamic ways to ensure our office is being representative of the community we serve - this strengthens our partnership with the community.

2. I have created the Community Bridge Program which is a program to reduce recidivism in our community. Inmates who wish to participate will receive service from our jail staff for 30 days after their release into the community. Inmates participating in the Community Bridge Program will work closely with a re-entry specialist prior to being released from the jail.

Q: Are there enough deputies on the street and are they properly deployed? What changes would you make?

A: No, we need more deputies. Over the last four years in office, despite the pandemic, negative nationwide attitude towards law enforcement and employee attrition, such as Sheriff Department retirements, I have increased overall staffing by 15 positions. The prior Republican Sheriff allowed the staffing levels to decrease from 551 positions to 536. In the short time I have been Sheriff, I have added 15 positions, taking the numbers from 537 to 552. I will continue to aggressively seek more Sheriff Department positions to alleviate the strain on Deputies, Correction officers and the need for overtime.

Q: What role should the sheriff's office play in dealing with the county's opioid crisis?

A: I have dedicated resources to aggressively pursue trafficking in all its forms (guns, human and drugs) to keep our community safe. As a result, my Special Investigations Group has set new records seizing nearly $10 million worth of illegal drugs and 200 illegally possessed firearms, which has resulted in a total of 350 felony charges.

Q: What role should the sheriff's office play in dealing with gun violence and mass shootings?

A: My Special Investigative Group (SIG) has won the distinction of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) AWARD from the U.S. government. With this funding from HIDTA the SIG is able to allocate substantial resources towards drug trafficking organizations, money laundering organizations and criminal enterprises. We have successively dismantled a street gang organization known as the Satan Disciples. We have intervened and stopped two ordered drive by shootings. We have seized hundreds of illegally possessed firearms.

Q: What would be your top three priorities over the next four years?

A: Continued Mental Health treatment, Community Safety and continue to restaff my departments due to retirements.

Q: If you could redo or reverse any one decision made by the sheriff in the last four years, what would it be and why?

A: I stand by all of my decisions because they are working and continue to build a better future for the Lake County Sheriff's Department and the community that we serve.

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