Four Candidates Vying for Effingham Co. Sheriff
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Primary Election Day is Tuesday, March 18, and that's when residents in Effingham County will elect a new sheriff.
There are four Republican candidates. Each candidate touts years of unique experience in law enforcement, they all pledge to keep the community safe while saving taxpayer money and they all swear by running a clean campaign. But only one can be sheriff.
"I am a sheriff's candidate that knows the sheriff's department. 18 years I've been there," candidate Darren Feldkamp said.
"I've been employed with the Illinois State Police for 25 years," candidate Dave Mahon said.
"I was a trooper. I was on what was called the tactical response team then, SWAT team now," candidate John Gardner said.
"For the last 10 years I've been the [Effingham] chief of police," candidate Mike Schutzbach said.
Each candidate also has new ideas and sees old polices they would like to change.
"Start having public town hall meetings in each one of the small outlying communities once a month," Feldkamp said.
"There's a lot of issues with the sheriff's department now with not communicating with the county board. Not communicating with the surrounding counties as much as they should," Mahon said.
"We've got a drug task force based at the Illinois State Police, right here in District 12, the Effingham County Sheriff's Department or the Effingham City Police Department are not members of it," Gardner said.
"I want to hold all the department staff accountable for their actions from the top to the bottom," Schutzbach said.
They also each have their own pitch for balancing the budget and their sworn duty to protect and serve the community.
"There's five different divisions within the sheriff's department, just not patrol. It's influxed constantly and you have to stay on top of it to be a good steward of the taxpayer's money," Feldkamp said.
"It's tough decisions to keep your overtime down. The way to do that is to try to work a little smarter, maybe with directed patrols. Actually have a purpose," Mahon said.
"I will not, will not, be in favor of any kind of building project, program, what have you, that involves any kind of tax increase or a new tax," Gardner said.
"For the last 10 years at the city police department, I've conservatively managed the budget, have not gone over figures that have been associated with that budget. I believe that we need to look out for the best interest of the taxpayers and spend their money wisely," Schutzbach said.
There is no Democrat in the race for Effingham County Sheriff, but doesn't mean the winner of the Republican primary won't face one. The Democrats have the next few months to appoint a candidate to run in the general election. Otherwise, the winner of the primary will run unopposed in November.
The polls open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday and close at 7 p.m.