Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weak Daily Herald interview with Sheriff-elect Prim

Sheriff-elect Bill Prim was interviewed by the Daily Herald. You can read it here.

Bill should have followed his pre-election strategy of staying out of the limelight. It's a soppy interview with no power at all.

I want Bill to succeed. The McHenry County Sheriff's Department desperately needs an infusion of integrity, honesty, transparency, and a desire to serve.

The Sheriff earns about $150,000/year. Glad to hear that Bill will be giving up his part-time security job; frankly, he should have given it up already. Has he already turned in his badge and resignation at the Kirkland, Ill. PD? (Kirkland's website indicates three police officers (chief, sergeant, patrolman), plus maybe some part-timers and auxiliary officers. How many badges has Chief Paul Lindstrom handed out over the years?)

Now what was wrong with what Bill apparently told the Daily Herald?

"You start by building trust." You don't "build" trust. You earn trust. Bill will need to say what he means and mean what he says. Then the deputies and the public will decide whether they can trust him.

Developing a program "... in conjunction with correctional officers and deputies, as well as with supervisor participation..." Sounds like collaboration, not leadership, to me. A first important step will be an order that reports will be written by deputies individually and independently. No more "team" efforts to write reports that mesh like gears of a fine Swiss watch. Seven or eight or ten deputies are not going to see exactly the same thing, and their reports shouldn't read like a three-act play.. Order the supervisors not to stand up in front of them and direct report-writing with a baton.

Wonder what I mean? In two reports in the David Maxson fatal injury case (Maxson died in 2006, after he was shot by a then-Deputy Zane Seipler with a beanbag "less-than-lethal" shotgun) there were identical 72-word strings of wording. The words, spacing and punctuation were identical. They were exactly the same. Copy-and-paste. Seventy-two words in a row - in two reports. And the supervisor approved those reports! I still remember my first thought when I read the five-to-seven reports I received; I thought, "The same person wrote all these reports!"

Supervisors will "mentor" personnel? Where, then, will the line blur between mentoring and training and supervising?

Prim didn't get elected because of the "... infighting and the bickering between the sheriff's office and the state's attorney's office..." Prim beat out Zinke because enough people who were sick and tired of the Nygren regime, and they responded to the efforts of Team Prim. The Republican Primary was close. Prim beat Zinke by 1/3 of !% of the vote in that race - less than 100 votes out of (how many? 29,000?).

As for a "citizens advisory board that will study policies outlined by the International Association of Chiefs of Police", that will be worthless if all they do is study the policies of the IACP. If Prim wants an effective citizens advisory board, he should let them tell him what is wrong at MCSD; i.e., where MCSD is not serving the residents of McHenry County.

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