301 W. Franklin Street
Taylorville, IL 62568
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FROM THE SHERIFF’S DESK VOL 1 #12
By Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp
THE YEAR IN REVIEW
The year produced a strong performance by the entire department. Our personnel were very effective in maintaining the high law enforcement standards that are essential to Christian County and its citizens.
There are many examples. The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association presented a commendation to Correctional Officer William Hogan, in recognition of his actions in preventing a suicide by an inmate. Officer Hogan was alone when it occurred, but, disregarding the possible threat to his own safety, he rescued the inmate, saving his life. It was indeed an action that was in the best traditions of the Christian County Sheriff’s Office.
The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists presented Certificates of Appreciation to Sergeant Alan Baily, Sergeant Gary Rexroad, and Deputy Phil Deal. They were honored for their exceptional DUI Enforcement.
We also were pleased to announce the promotions of Lieutenant Scott Woods and Sergeant Gary Rexroad.
All of these men are excellent examples of dedication to duty and provide outstanding performance that inspires all of us.
We must continue to provide the opportunity and means for all department personnel to acquire the skills that will help them to do the same.
Very early in the year, we produced our new Mission Statement for the Christian County Sheriff’s Office. One of its key commitments for the year ahead was to “Work with our staff to improve the level of their technical knowledge, training, and education, so as to increase the effectiveness of their performance.”
I am happy to report that this year we created a training program to do exactly that. We conducted 24 different training programs, selected to provide the means to achieve the goal.
The topics covered a wide range of subjects. Here are the principal groups and their programs:
Specific reviews of changes in major sections of the law such as:
· Juvenile Law Update
· Criminal Law Update
· Illinois Vehicle Code Update
A series of classes focused on major categories of illegal activity:
· DEA Narcotics Investigation Class
· Marijuana aerial observation and suppression school
· Indoor Cannabis Grow School
· Illinois Drug Enforcement Officers Conference
· Homicide Investigators Class
Special Situations requiring focused training techniques:
· Active Shooter and Rapid Deployment Update
· Armed Robbery in Progress Class
· Sex Offender Registration Law Update
· Officer Involved Shooting Class
· Confidential Source Development Training
Investigation, Reporting, and Evidence:
· Search and Seizure Law Update
· Electronic Evidence Collection Class
· Hazardous Materials Training
· Confessions and Admissions Class
· Finger Print and Foot Impression Class
Development of Protective Skills:
· Tazer Instruction Class
· Firearms Proficiency Training
Improvement of Physical Skills:
· Department of Physical Fitness Test
· Dealing with Psychological Issues and Stress on the Job
Other skill activities:
· Report Writing Class
· DUI Report Writing Class
· Media Relations Class
· Courtroom Testimony
The width and quality of subjects, coupled with the dedicated performance of those taking these courses, produced excellent results.
To consider that a 52-week year featured 24 important courses reflected much of the ongoing, frequent changes that occur in every aspect of life. What used to be a much simpler level of necessary expertise and experience has grown to staggering proportions. To ignore the importance of these ideas would be to diminish our ability to deal with the multi-aspect changes in modern law enforcement. And these requirements increase dramatically through the year.
The training programs were a major reason that staff performance was so strongly improved last year. Both the staff’s range of effectiveness and level of performance improved. The personnel who took these programs are better prepared to deal with the wide range of demands required in modern law enforcement.
For example, the number of annual changes made in the Criminal Code is very large. This year’s changes, additions, definitions, and clarifications to the code filled 82 single-spaced pages. It is obvious that our deputies must receive the necessary training to insure that they are aware of these changes so they can properly perform their duties.
This year’s training programs also included courses where law enforcement personnel participated along with civilian workers whose occupations could place them in difficult or dangerous situations. Some specific examples of these categories are people who work in banks, healthcare, and home services where their jobs may involve them in situations producing threats and dangers.
But our achievements come in many fields. For example, in these days when budgets in every organizational subdivision are at best, very tight, it is imperative that every organization like ours be on the lookout for opportunities to maintain service levels at favorable costs.
In one case, we were able to obtain funding for a much needed squad cars. The Sheriff’s Office was awarded a grant for $20,000 from Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. The Sheriffs Office also received a grant to purchase three portable radios.
We also were happy to announce that the Office had received a grant from the Norfolk Southern railroad. Its purpose was to improve and update the DARE program material in the schools. As I observed on the program announcement, the grant will ensure that our DARE program will continue to have the materials it needs to help our youth.
We were also able to add some key positions, hiring an additional Correctional Officer and adding an Investigator in the Drug Task Force.
Fortunately, Contract Negotiations settled a new three-year contract.
Meanwhile we were able to obtain new digital radios for the Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement agencies in the county.
A significant improvement in the Correctional Center was accomplished with a replacement of the 40-year-old cast iron plumbing. We also made needed improvements in the County Courthouse, remodeling bathrooms and conducting window maintenance
The department also participated in some important community programs
We published a Snow Emergency Level warning system and since winter officially begins in less than 2 weeks, we will publish it again. The program provides effective recommendations for dealing with a powerful winter as well as a listing of locations which can provide shelter for residents who may need it. It defines 3 levels that may occur during inclement weather, along with the required responsibilities of drivers.
In cooperation with the Christian County Prevention Coalition, we participated, in the Project Sticker Shock program. I accompanied many local youth visiting various locations handling liquor. There, we distributed material dealing with the programs
We also participated in two High School Prom Crash re-enactments, to bring to teens a heightened awareness of the absolute danger of driving and drinking.
Our office supplied a collection point in the 2 campaigns of this year’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This program is meant to reduce the prescription drug abuse epidemic which currently affects more than 70 million Americans.
My deepest thanks to the departments workers for their achievement and to the citizens of Christian County for their help and input.
Department Activity for the last 5 months: