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As a voter, I like to be informed on what a candidate stands for and what he/she plans to do upon taking office. Here you will find a few of my thoughts on the office of Sheriff: 

Morale has been decreasing at the sheriff’s office and is currently very low. This is largely attributed to lack of collaboration between administration and employees and a promotional system that is based more on popularity than skills and abilities. The current atmosphere at the sheriff’s office has caused employees to seek jobs with other employers. High turnover not only increases costs for the county, but also increases burn-out among remaining employees who are trying to maintain a high level of service for Champaign County residents. 

  • As Sheriff, I will increase morale by involving employees in decision-making processes, creating an inclusive environment that challenges employees to never stop improving and basing promotions on skills, abilities and experience.

 

Over the past few years, there have been several officer-involved shootings by sheriff’s deputies and other officers county-wide. However, there was no training in firearms proficiency for deputies last year except for state-mandated qualifications, and this year training is limited to 9 hours, much less than the hours per year required by many other departments in Champaign County.  Correctional officers carry firearms to and from work and while transporting inmates, however they are only required to annually qualify with their firearms, the minimum required by law, and do not receive any additional firearms proficiency training. Though we hope that use of firearms by deputies and correctional officers is never needed, we expect them to be proficient when using these tools if the need to use them arises. 

  • As Sheriff, I will ensure that employees get the training needed to be proficient with the tools they are required to carry, and potentially use, every day. This will include training on how to maximize communication to de-escalate situations. Training needs to be a priority for the sheriff's office.

 

Strategic collaboration with the Champaign, Urbana and University of Illinois police departments is imperative to ensuring a safe community for us all. However, we cannot forget areas of the county that count on the sheriff’s office for primary police service to protect their safety and the safety of their property.

  • As Sheriff, I will ensure that areas of the county without a municipal police officer on duty are patrolled during each shift. I will also ensure that deputies are engaged in community policing – speaking with residents and business owners about concerns they have and how the sheriff’s office can address these concerns. The sheriff's office will also strategically assist other local departments with combatting community violence.

 

The sheriff’s office has attempted to implement alternatives to incarceration for some nonviolent, convicted offenders, such as electronic home detention, however these programs have fallen short because of a lack of adequate supervision and resources. To keep from reoffending, offenders in these alternatives need to be connected with services within the community, such as counseling services and/or job placement assistance, and held to a standard that will help them succeed. Offenders who are receiving the treatment they need and who are able to financially support themselves are less likely to reoffend.

  • As Sheriff, I will ensure that offenders participating in alternatives to incarceration are provided information on resources available to them in the community. I will also ensure they are held accountable for staying within the parameters of the agreement for participating in the alternative. Additionally, I will work with the judicial system to explore other alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders and pre-trial detainees.

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Dustin Heuerman
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