Monday, December 15, 2008

Sheriff's Dept. Legal Fees

Just how much is it costing McHenry County taxpayers for legal fees being paid on behalf of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department? Whether the State's Attorney's office is representing the sheriff's department or a private law firm, what is the cost? Most of it is probably money that could be better spent on law enforcement activities.

A case in court this morning is a good example. Deputy Bob Schlenkert's case against the McHenry County Sheriff's Department Merit Commission was scheduled in Judge McIntyre's courtroom this morning. They'll be back in court on December 23rd at 9:00AM. Judge McIntyre's courtroom is 201, if you're not busy that morning.

As I understand it from information provided to me, Deputy Schlenkert fought successfully to get his job back and then he was required to attend the 12-week academy - even though he was an experienced deputy for quite a few years. Schlenkert missed one small portion of the physical agility/strength testing and, based on that, the sheriff's department declared him unfit for duty.

Now I ask you. If you miss one small portion of that testing, should you be tossed to the wolves?

Next time you are up at 2200 N. Seminary, look around you. Check out the beer bellys (or is it bellies); anyway, guts! Size up the deputies from toes to head. Are they fit? Many - most - are, and many of them work hard at their physical conditioning, because they never know when they will need all the physical strength they can muster. Include the supervisors and the command personnel. Are they in good physical condition?

Are there age-appropriate standards? Does a man 50 years old have to meet the same physical standards as a man 25 years old? If you can't walk up half a flight of steps without huffing and puffing, you should get a certain period of time to improve your stamina or find a new job - if that's what the standard is. It should apply to all - evenly.

And the requirements should be applied across the board without discrimination against any one or a few. How many deputies have been out of service for over a year but, when they came back, they did not have to participate in re-training or go through the Academy before returning to duty?

The sheriff's department must be spending a bundle on defense in the Gauger case. That one is written about elsewhere. I knew a man in Colorado who was falsely accused of rape. The victim told police that his wasn't the truck involved and that he wasn't the rapist. Yet they kept after him. He eventually won $1,100,000 from two sheriff's departments, two District Attorneys and one police department.

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