Election: Kane County Sheriff
Two candidates on the March 18 General Primary Election ballot will vie for the Kane County Sheriff Republican nomination.
Donald Kramer defines the role of Kane County Sheriff as the responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens and uphold the Constitution of the United States and the State of Illinois.
Kramer, a retired lieutenant and the Republican nominee for Kane County Sheriff in 2010, is committed to making a difference in the community by keeping Kane County a great place to live and work.
“I will strive to provide excellence in the service we provide our community in protection of your property and family, the efficient operation of the county jail and the security of county government buildings,” Kramer said. “I will also be a fair and honest leader to the 300 employees of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and a good steward of the $26 million dollar budget.”
Kramer’s role model in law enforcement is his father, retired sheriff George Kramer, who was a juvenile officer at Batavia Police Department before becoming sheriff.
“I watched as he helped kids get their lives back on track,” Kramer said.
Kramer is also active with Kane County Safe Kids, Suicide Prevention Services and the Geneva Rotary Club to give back to his community and serve the needs of its youth.
“I have seen too many young people lose their lives to poor decisions and, like my father, have made a lifetime commitment to helping our youth succeed in life,” Kramer said.
If elected, Kramer said he would set goals for officers and create an administrative structure that oversees the daily functions and plans for the unexpected. He hopes to improve the personal relationships the Sheriff’s Office has built with the community and expand the opportunities for its officers to better serve the needs of neighborhoods and businesses.
“It is important for me to run for sheriff because I believe there are many improvements that can be made to reduce crime and increase the quality of life in our county,” Kramer said.
Kramer has also worked on many projects within the Sheriff’s Office and organizations in the community, with the focus on solving problems that confront Kane County citizens.
“It is very important that law enforcement work closely with the community to address our concerns and resolve them through partnerships,” he said.
Kramer has 30 years of police experience, all with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, and he believes the leadership roles during his career have prepared him for the challenges of operating a large fiscal budget and managing 300 employees. Over a period of eight years as a lieutenant, he was responsible for department training, computer network administration, new recruit training, community policing, civil process and grant writing.
As a sergeant, Kramer led a county-wide traffic safety program that was recognized nationally for reducing deaths and injuries.
“I am the only candidate with a master’s degree (criminal justice, Chicago State University) and also advanced certificates in police administration and computer network administration,” he said. “(And) I have made a commitment to serve the community for over 20 years in many non-profit and community-based organizations to improve the quality of life for our citizens.”
Kramer’s list of priorities as sheriff would include improvement of the flow of information to our officers and the public by the command staff (lieutenants); participation with other local law enforcement agencies and community organizations in promoting educational programs that address bullying, drug abuse, domestic violence and suicide; and identification of ways to reduce costs and lessen the burden to taxpayers.
“I would like to see the Sheriff’s Office become more green, thereby reducing energy costs and monthly expenditures,” Kramer said. “I have examined alternative fuels for fleet vehicles and believe we can reduce our overall budget each year after the initial cost of conversion to natural gas or propane. I believe we should also incorporate wind and solar power at our facilities to reduce traditional energy costs.”
To achieve those items, Kramer believes his goals must reflect the needs of the community and involve input from office employees.
“I have listened to the concerns of citizens and have been considering action plans to solve these problems,” he said. But through experience, I know I need the input of the workforce to be successful. I believe in team-building and encouraging all staff members to participate in making the organization more efficient and productive.”
In terms of the sheriff’s current state of coverage for western portions of the county during nighttime hours, Kramer said the number of patrol officers assigned to each shift is best determined by the number of calls received during the shift and the available time officers have to devote to crime prevention.
“I believe that we could improve coverage all over the county with additional deputies, but that would require an increase in the budget and the raising of your taxes,” he said. “Instead, I have plans to distribute officers more evenly across all three shifts and stagger the shift changes so officers are available in all areas of the county. This is important because it will reduce the amount of time it takes for officers to respond to calls and assure coverage in western townships.”
Kramer said everyone has a stake in keeping local neighborhoods safe so that families can enjoy security at nearby schools, parks and businesses.
“We also need to confront some very unpleasant issues dealing with drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence,” he said. “I believe that my career as a police officer for over 30 years and the commitment to several community organizations for the last 20 years, have prepared me to take on this leadership role.”
Kane County Sheriff candidate Kevin Williams sees the position of sheriff as the top law enforcement officer in the county—one that oversees three branches: the courts, corrections and public safety.
“The sheriff’s role is building partnerships with the Kane County Board, the community, local school officials, law enforcement agencies, local governments, townships and civic organizations,” he said. “The sheriff must also be a good leader and manager in order to run an efficient and effective office.”
Williams currently serves as lieutenant of Community Policing and Crime Prevention at the Kane County Sheriff’s Office. He was the Republican nominee for Kane County Sheriff in 2006. He holds a Police Staff and Command Certification from Northwestern University, a Corrections Officers Certification from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as additional certifications in Northeast Multi-Regional Training, gang specialist investigations, drug investigations, suburban law enforcement, human resource development and internal affairs.
In terms of community, Williams is a member of Friends of Jason Gould leukemia and lymphoma fundraising organization, and he’s a Special Olympics volunteer. Williams and his wife Tracy have three children and two grandchildren, with another grandchild on the way.
Williams seeks the position of Kane County Sheriff because of his strong passion for public service, as well as his 35 years of civil service, 22 of which has been through the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.
“I am running for Kane County Sheriff because I have the knowledge, skill and the abilities needed to manage a complex, professional law enforcement organization that is dedicated to the community’s needs,” Williams said. “I am running for Kane County Sheriff because I have a long-standing passion to pursue those who do harm against the residents of Kane County. I am devoted to Kane County and will strive to keep it a safe place in which to live, work and raise our families.”
As a lieutenant with numerous administrative assignments, Williams believes he has proven to be a good manager utilizing his organizational, planning, and reasoning abilities, and that he has demonstrated the character to build trust and the competence to lead.
“I have the right temperament to work with my fellow employees, other government bodies and community members,” he said. “I have arrested more criminals who have committed felonies in Kane County than my opponent. I have criminal investigative experience, a thorough knowledge of crime scene protection/evidence collection, investigations of dangerous street gangs and as an undercover narcotics officer.
Williams said he has built law enforcement and community coalitions throughout his tenure with the Sheriff’s Office to achieve “greater impact on gang and drug problems, improve senior safety, school safety and neighborhood watch programs.”
“My dedication to communities for over 20 years uniquely qualifies me to understand the impact that crime is having on our communities,” he said. “I have a strong record of getting to the core of the problem and coming to achievable solutions.”
If elected, Williams’ priorities will include combatting the growing heroin and prescription drug abuse problem in Kane County.
“Having served on a panel with law enforcement, recovering addicts and families who have lost loved ones, I know that the best way to combat the growing use of heroin is to work with the community, schools and local law enforcement to educate the community on the changing face of heroin abuse,” he said. “I will continue to educate the community on the dangers of heroin and prescription drug abuse.”
Williams would also prioritize the protection of Kane County’s most vulnerable citizens, including its growing senior population and its children.
“I will continue to work with senior service programs, TRIAD programs, and other local law enforcement programs to protect Kane County’s growing senior population,” he said. “I will also continue to work closely with school administrators to protect our children against intruders, bullying, and continue education on substance abuse.”
Williams also wants to run an efficient and fiscally responsible office, and work closely with the County Board and the Command Staff at the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that the office is “running as fiscally responsible as possible.”
“Success as a sheriff hinges on the ability to build partnerships with the employees of the Sheriff’s Office, the community, local municipalities and the county government,” Williams said. “I have been doing just that for the past 20 years and will continue to strive for better and stronger partnerships in order to be a successful Sheriff.”
In terms of the Kane County Sheriff’s ability to adequately patrol western portions of the county during nighttime hours, Williams believes the Sheriff’s Office has done its best to protect the citizens of Kane County despite being understaffed.
“Sheriff Perez has done a great job with the resources he has,” Williams said. “This is why community involvement, through the form of programs like Neighborhood Watch and senior safety crime education programs, are important. I have been working with such programs as lieutenant of Community Policing and will continue to facilitate good working relationships with communities as sheriff. Continuing to build partnerships with the community is the biggest force enhancer law enforcement has.”
Williams has been nominated three times for the Kane County Sheriff’s Officer of the Year Award. He’s accepted the Courage Award for risking his life, as he entered a structure fire in an attempt to locate a handicapped subject. He received the Meritorious Award for driving his personal four-wheel drive vehicle to rescue numerous deputies who were stranded for over 24 hours in the blizzard of 2011, and was the recipient of the Leadership Award for his direction, organization and planning of responding and assisting officers to a home invasion/attempted murder incident, and also the Life Saving Award for locating and saving a citizen who was about to commit suicide with a shotgun.
Accolades aside, Williams’ message is simple.
“I am the best choice for Kane County Sheriff,” he said.