Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Galt Airport Rock Concert

We taxpayers in McHenry County are about to foot a huge bill to defend Sheriff Nygren and the McHenry County Sheriff’s Dept. in a federal lawsuit filed by Mike Stanard, operator of Galt Airport in Greenwood. Stanard objects to being required to hire sheriff’s deputies at an $80,000/year payrate to protect the public at the Galt Airport rock concerts.

And if Stanard doesn’t pay? Will the Sheriff really close off public roads leading to Galt Airport?

I recall reading of this controversy when it first arose. At the time I thought, “Even though I’m not going to the concert, perhaps I’ll drive out Greenwood Road and see if my passage is restricted.”

Sheriff Nygren is quoted in the July 18 Northwest Herald as saying this lawsuit is the most ridiculous thing he has heard of in his 40 years in law enforcement.

There are only two ridiculous aspects to this federal lawsuit filed against the McHenry County Sheriff's Dept.; 1) that the Sheriff's Dept. allegedly created conditions leading to the lawsuit and 2) the legal expense to Stanard to file such a lawsuit.

I’ve witnessed Sheriff’s deputies strutting around the McHenry County Fair like they own the place. Casually dressed, armed (of course). Hard to discern whether they really were police. And that’s in the daytime. If they are on patrol, they need to be in uniform, so there is no doubt whatsoever of their standing as police. No more black t-shirts and jeans.

If Stanard provides security and no problems result in need for police response, then the cops need to stay away.

Is this an expense that we taxpayers need to foot? Should the Sheriff's legal bill be paid by him or by his political fund? Shouldn't there be an investigation of possible criminal activity connected with improper use of authority?

McHenry County Sheriff's Department needs an Internal Affairs Division, with full investigative authority and the power to charge ANY member of the Sheriff's Department, should they believe a crime was committed.


Anonymous said...

Gus Wrote: "McHenry County Sheriff's Department needs an Internal Affairs Division, with full investigative authority and the power to charge ANY member of the Sheriff's Department, should they believe a crime was committed."

Ok, I'm confused, could you please clarify what the crime is? You do very well in giving examples you perceive as wrong, but I see no facts stated with legal footnotes to show an actual crime being committed. On another note, how much will the taxpayers have to pay this Internal Affairs Division to supply them with resources and payroll? How many officers should this division be comprised of, and since it's a specialized division these officers pay rates will surely be higher than normal patrol officers. Wouldn't it just be better to have the State Police conduct any investigations into criminal acts possibly being committed rather than add a payroll heavy division to an already stressed budget?

Gus said...

Mike Stanard's complaint in federal court provides the reasons to investigate possible criminal activity at the Sheriff's Dept. If his facts are true (and I have my own experience with statements from the sheriff's dept. which were later denied; I had the proof in my tape from my answering machine of what had been said! The reaction at the sheriff's dept.? "Well, that's not what I meant."), then don't you see something wrong with "If you don't hire deputies at $40.00/hour, I'll shut off the roads to the airport" or some similar wording?
An Internal Affairs Department provides an immediate contact for the public (and for the deputy who wants to blow the whistle). Ever try to get the State Police to investigate McHenry County? The State Police maintain a Public Integrity Task Force for Cook County (gee, no surprise there...) but they do not for McHenry County. Ever try to get the State's Attorney to investigate the Sheriff's Dept.?
There are those within the sheriff's dept. who know whether the statements attributed to Sheriff Nygren about Galt Airport festivals were made and what they meant. Will they step forward and speak up?