Kane sheriff says he's getting an 'A' in first term; challengers disagree
A little more than three years into his term, Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer would give his administration an "A" for improving the department's training, professionalism and integrity.
Kramer, who won election in November 2014 and was sworn in the following month, said his deputies wrote about 12,000 tickets last year, an increase from the 5,000 to 6,000 a year before he took over.
These standards help hold officers more accountable for their time while increasing their community interaction and presence, Kramer said.
The sheriff's office also has increased training, such as developing a Crisis Intervention Training course for area officers, and people regularly compliment the office for the professionalism of deputies in general, the sheriff said.
"If you put that all together, I'm square in the 'A' zone," Kramer said.
He is seeking another 4-year term. Three of his subordinates also want the job.
Sgt. Kevin Tindall will square off against Kramer March 20 for the Republican nomination; Sgt. Ron Hain and Lt. Willie M. Mayes Sr. are seeking the Democratic nomination next month.
The two winners go head to head Nov. 6 in the general election. The three bring their own visions and action plans to the office.
Tindall, a bomb squad commander at the sheriff's department and a former trustee for the Sugar Grove Fire Protection District, points to his experience in both the fire and police side of public safety as a plus. He also noted his experience in management and transitioning the fire protection district from paid-on-call firefighters to a full-time staff.
"That qualifies me the most," Tindall said, adding, "We've regressed enough. We need to move forward."
Hain, a sergeant who led drug interdiction efforts on county tollways, said the sheriff's department needs to be more proactive than reactive. He noted the department has fewer officers in key roles, such as investigating cyber crime and pedophiles exchanging child pornography, and if elected he would update officer patrol routes dating back to the 1980s to help improve response times.
"I believe that we have a significant issue with public safety in Kane County," Hain said.
Mayes, a 26-year department veteran who ran for sheriff in 2014, has a plan for his first 100 days in office if elected. A couple of steps would be to engage the community to build trust and work with agencies to provide opportunities to people getting out of jail and prison to reduce recidivism.
"There's a lot of things we haven't done that we used to do and were good at," said Mayes. "I desire to serve my community in a position where I can impact the quality of life."
Early voting continues weekdays at the clerk's office.