Running for Sheriff is something that I have contemplated for many years. I was born and raised in Marion. I left for college and came back to Marion, married my college sweetheart and raised two kids here. When I was growing up, Marion was a lot different than it is today. I know people always say, “the good old days” when they describe their childhood, but to me, that’s exactly what it was like growing up in Marion. I grew up playing baseball in the Baseball for Youth program in Lincoln Park, playing “street football” and hide and seek with my friends in the neighborhood. We never really thought about or worried about crime on Spencer Street where I grew up. I had two great parents that loved and supported me in whatever I was doing, which for the most part was sports. It was a great time to grow up in Marion.
When I joined the Marion Police Department in 1989, I began to see the “other side” of things. My training officer was Bill Collins, who is now the Chief of Police. Bill, to put it mildly, had a nose for police work. I could not have asked for a better training officer. The first night I rode with him, we got into a high-speed pursuit that took us out north of New Bloomington before the suspect drove his car into a field to get away from us. In the weeks that followed, it seemed that Bill and I would get into situation after situation that was high impact or exciting for one reason or another. I was hooked; I knew this was the right career for me. I can’t even say that it was a job. It was something that I loved doing. It wasn’t just the excitement of the job that I enjoyed. I loved helping people in need, whether it was a woman being abused by her partner, a theft victim that just lost their rent money or helping a stranded motorist who needed help changing a tire. It was something that I loved doing - and still do today.
Things have changed in Marion since those first days on the job. When I first started out, I was on midnight shift. Of the 30 years on the Department, I spent roughly 20 of them on midnights. While on night shift, there was always some excitement as I’ve already mentioned. We had a drug problem, just like every other town had, but it was mostly marijuana. If we found cocaine on someone, it was a big deal! Over the years that followed though, things changed. We started running into more and more people with guns. Then cocaine became almost an afterthought with the surge of heroin invading our community. We began having people stealing from their parents and grandparents for their next fix, driving under the influence of these drugs and passing out at the wheel, and dying from overdoses.
This is no longer the Marion that I grew up in, but I think Marion could return to those days with the correct leadership, cooperation between law enforcement agencies and being forward thinking in planning and developing the next steps.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Department has been under the operation by the same circle of people for the past 52 years. The Office of Sheriff has been passed along by the Democratic Party. Historically, when the Marion County Sheriff has been ready to retire he passes the torch to another member of the Sheriff’s Department so they can run as the incumbent in the next election. By doing this, the newly appointed Sheriff has name recognition associated with the office. Sheriff Butterworth stepped down from his position and Tim Bailey was appointed as Sheriff prior to the election in 2004. The Marion County Sheriff’s Department has effectively served our community using an approach that worked for the time period in which they served. The problem is that the current Sheriff is working with an approach and management style that was prevalent decades ago. It’s not working now- not by a long shot.
Why do I want to be Sheriff? I want to bring Marion County back to the way it used be, to bring back the quality of life we enjoyed when I grew up here. I want to bring it back to the days when I brought my new wife here to live and raise a family. I love Marion County and the people in it - I always have and always will.
I plan to be a forward-thinking Sheriff who cooperates with all levels of law enforcement, first responders and anyone who wants take part in addressing the challenges facing us in Marion County. I am willing to think outside the box. I will confront problems that may arise and find solutions in a fiscally responsible way. My focus will not be on receiving acknowledgment for solving a problem, as long as the problem gets solved in a way that best serves the citizens of Marion county.
In the very near future, I will be presenting my ideas and plans to impact a positive change in the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. I will be sharing my campaign platform on a regular basis. Partner with me so we all can be part of returning our community to a place where we will feel safe, secure and happy. I can’t do this without you. If you have any questions for me, ideas that you want to share, or concerns that you may have, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thank you and God Bless,