Kane Countyâ€”Incumbent Kane County Sheriff and Democrat Pat Perez will face Republican challenger Donald E. Kramer on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Both expressed a desire to increase the departmentâ€™s effectiveness while dealing with the recent budget crunch caused by the economic downturn.
Family: Married, wife Terrie, sons Stephan, 23 and Gabe, 20
Hometown: Sugar Grove
â€¢Â 1975 graduateâ€”West Aurora H.S.
â€¢Â 1992 graduateâ€”Police Training Institute
â€¢Â 2007 graduateâ€”National Sheriff’s Institute
â€¢Â 2007 graduateâ€”Souther Police Institute Executive Management
Community involvement: Member of Batavia Rotary, Co-Chair CASA Kane County Chairman’s Advisory Panel, Co-Chair of Fundraising United Way Fox Valley, past coach and co-founder of Aurora Superstars Youth Football, former assistant coach, Kaneland High School.
Current Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez said he wants a second term because of the commitment he made to the county prior to his first one.
â€œMy priorities have always been proactive enforcement and to rid our county of violent offenders, gang members and drug dealers,â€ Perez said. â€œThis has had the greatest impact on the quality of life and safety for all our citizens.â€
He pointed to his departmentâ€™s accomplishments in his first term as the reason he is best suited to earn the publicâ€™s vote. He fulfilled his promise to implement mandatory random drug testing, create a safer environment for county corrections officers, stabilize the department communications division, adjust his staffing structure to focus on public safety, and to do it all in a fiscally responsible way.
In addition, Perez said he re-established the School Resource Officer program, putting in officers at the Kaneland and Burlington high schools.
Another success Perez touts is the departmentâ€™s move from the Geneva to the St. Charles facility in 2008.
â€œThis included moving 511 inmates in one night without incident,â€ Perez said.
While it may be his name on the ballot, Perez pointed out that the departmentâ€™s accomplishments were due to the work of everyone involved.
â€œI am surrounded by a staff of professionals who take pride in our profession and share my vision,â€ he said. â€œI realize our work is a team effort, and have led by example and have held myself to the same standards that my staff is held to.â€
Looking to the future, Perez said he plans to expand the departmentâ€™s partnership with the citizens of Kane County, through the Citizens Police Academy, TRIAD Senior Services, Neighborhood Watch and Too Good for Drugs programs. He will also be focused on completing the buildout at the Kane County Jail to eliminate the need to send overflow inmates to other counties.
â€œBy completing the buildout, we will eliminate the need to outsource inmates and have the ability to rent beds to the Federal Marshals or ICE and create a positive revenue stream for Kane County rather than having money leave Kane County,â€ Perez said.
His third priority is also what he considers his departmentâ€™s biggest challenge: â€œto continue to provide the best service possible with limited resources.â€
Perez points to the budget reductions already achieved as an indication of what is possible when a department faces a budget crunch. He said that his departmentâ€™s total combined savings from 2007 to 2009 was $762,000.
â€œI did not wait for the recession to begin fiscal reform, I began that the day I took office,â€ Perez said. â€œWe have all had to make sacrifices in this economy, and we have learned to do the best we can with the resources we have available.â€
Donald E. Kramer
Family: Wife, Kelly; son, Colin; daughters, Amanda and Holly
Hometown: Geneva, 15 years; originally from Batavia
Background: Educationâ€”School of Police Staff and Command, Northwestern University, Center for Public Safety, 2004; Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Chicago State University, 1995; Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, Aurora University, 1991; Associate in Business Management, Waubonsee Community College, 1984; Employmentâ€”Kane County Sheriff’s Office, June 1979 to November 2009; promoted to lieutenant March 2002; and sergeant August 1986
Community Involvement: Rotary Club of Geneva, Kane County Safe Kids, Geneva Academic Foundation, Suicide Prevention Services and several church committees
Challenger Donald E. Kramer said he is running for Kane County Sheriff to bring what he said is the leadership necessary to provide more effective service to Kane County citizens.
â€œAfter working more than 30 years for the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, I realized that in order to make a difference I must have greater involvement in the process,â€ Kramer said.
Armed with his experience at all levels of the department, combined with his upper level management education, he said he has the necessary skillset to increase the departmentâ€™s efficiency and effectiveness. He plans to apply that combination of skill, experience and education to restructure the department in a more effective manner while also working within the budget.
Kramer said he plans to reassign personnel to address crime and safety in the neighborhoods and county roads, including the creation of a domestic violence unit, as well as a traffic unit, within the public safety division. He also plans to restructure the management of the department to more effectively monitor its activities and finances.
â€œI plan on building a management team that will determine the needs of the community and work with supervisors on achieving successful strategies to reduce crime,â€ Kramer said. â€œUpper level management will also be more responsible for collaborating with other agencies and managing finances to achieve goals and objectives within financial constraints.â€
To extend the departmentâ€™s resources, Kramer said he plans to collaborate with other law enforcement agencies to combine efforts in combating drugs and gangs, as well as improve traffic safety.
The restructuring and collaborative efforts will be vital to accomplish what Kramer said is the biggest challenge facing the departmentâ€”providing public safety services while dealing with reductions in finances and personnel.
â€œBecause there has been a significant cut in the budget and personnel, it will be necessary as sheriff to redeploy resources to address core issues that affect the greatest number of citizens,â€ Kramer said. â€œTo accomplish this, I will reduce the number of specialized units and reassign personnel in order to provide the greatest amount of service necessary to protect our streets, courthouse and jail.â€