Lake County sheriff candidate flips stance and will appoint undersheriff if elected

  • Mark Curran, left, and Jason Patt, right, are candidates for Lake County sheriff in the 2014 general election.

    Mark Curran, left, and Jason Patt, right, are candidates for Lake County sheriff in the 2014 general election.

Updated 10/7/2014 5:22 PM

Lake County sheriff candidate Jason Patt said he will appoint an undersheriff if elected in November, reversing a campaign pledge he made during the spring primary.

Patt, 36, a Democrat from Zion, initially said he would not appoint an undersheriff if he were to be elected as Lake County sheriff Nov. 4. He said he decided to reverse that decision this week after speaking with some unidentified Lake County Board members.


"After the primary, I was contacted by several Lake County Board members who said the department runs better when there is an undersheriff," Patt said. "The office needs it, so I decided to change my mind."

Republican incumbent sheriff Mark Curran, 51, of Libertyville, said Patt's reversal shows his lack of management skills and experience.

"I understand that I'm the best sheriff when I operate from a perspective of humility," Curran said in explaining why an undersheriff is needed. "I operate best when I recognize there are people with greater knowledge than me in many areas, and I surround myself with people that understand law enforcement."

Patt currently works as an investigator with the Lake County Coroner's Office. Curran is a former attorney who was elected sheriff in 2006.

The sheriff's office has more than 600 employees, all overseen by the sheriff, the undersheriff, three command chiefs, and five command deputy chiefs. The chiefs report to the undersheriff, Curran said, and the undersheriff reports to him.

Former Mundelein Police Chief Ray Rose has held the position since being appointed in 2013. He replaced former Antioch Police Chief Chuck Fagan, who retired.

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Curran said the Lake County Sheriff's Office is too large to not have an undersheriff in place.

"There are a lot of demands on the sheriff outside of the office," he said, "Ultimately, people expect to see the sheriff in the community, but it's hard to be in the community and manage the everyday demands at the office."

Curran said he would reappoint Rose as his undersheriff if he is re-elected sheriff in November.

"There is no one I could choose that has close to the same qualifications as Ray does," he said. "He has an unbelievably strong ethical compass, he's been in this business for over 45 years, and has so much knowledge in the way a law enforcement agency should run. He's the logical choice."

Patt said he initially felt he could promote a deputy chief to a command chief, and promote a command chief to the chief deputy and that individual would handle the duties of undersheriff.

Patt has met with people interested in the undersheriff job, he said, but doesn't know when he will announce his selection.

"I'm not decided on who it would be," he said. "Right now, I'm just concentrating on the election."

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