Democrats in Lake County sheriff primary critical of Curran
Democrats vying for Lake County sheriff have a history in law enforcement and share a similar, critical belief that the office needs new leadership.
Jason Patt, 35, of Zion, who works as an investigator for the Lake County Coroner's Office, is a graduate of the Department of Defense Police Academy and the state of Illinois Corrections Academy.
He also is a certified evidence technician, accident investigator, hostage/crisis negotiator and a lead homicide investigator.
John Krempotic, 56, of North Chicago, spent 28 years with the Lake County Sheriff's Office after being hired as a deputy at the age of 21.
He also holds a degree in criminal justice from Carthage College in Wisconsin, is versed in accident reconstruction and fingerprint identification, and spent five years on the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.
Patt and Krempotic recently met with the Daily Herald in an endorsement interview to discuss their March 18 primary race for sheriff.
Both said during the interview that office morale is low, and a change in leadership is needed to address the problem.
Krempotic said the hiring of two former Lake County police chiefs by Sheriff Mark Curran to take over as Lake County Undersheriff and as a jail administrator was a "slap in the face" to people who have worked hard to be promoted from within.
"The morale is pretty low and it's only going to get lower with things like that," he said.
Patt agreed and said morale increases among employees when leadership promotes from within.
"I actually agreed with Mark Curran when he removed the undersheriff position a long time ago," he said. "Unfortunately, he brought that back and cost the taxpayers $150,000 more."
Patt said he would reduce redundant positions in sheriff administration to save about $500,000 annually in salaries.
"With some of that extra money, for every chief or deputy chief or director that we consolidate, we can put two to three more correction officers or deputy sheriffs on the street," he said.
Krempotic also was critical of Curran's experience as a lawyer and his lack of experience as a police officer.
"His experience may be in law, and he may be a good lawyer, but that does not make him a good law enforcement officer," Krempotic said. "And, I believe this is shown by the mistakes he's made. He tends to react. In reality, you have to act. You have to plan ahead for situations."
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Curran in the county's general election in November.