The negative comments under the Northwest Herald article about McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren’s plan to resume visits to his Mexican Sister City has prompted his Democratic Party challenger to strike.
Mike Mahon’s press release pledging to scrap the exchange program follows:
MAHON INTENDS TO CANCEL EXCHANGE PROGRAM
Candidate for McHenry County Sheriff Mike Mahon vowed Tuesday that if elected, he would move to cancel any exchange program with Mexico or any other countries as has been practiced by incumbent Sheriff Keith Nygren.
In a published report Monday, Nygren was described as looking to revitalize an eight-year-old program that paired McHenry County sheriff’s deputies with their counterparts in Mexico on a periodic basis, allegedly in the interest of cross-cultural appreciation.
“It’s odd that Sheriff Nygren suddenly yearns to go south of the border three months out from a general election,”
According to the published report, Nygren stopped short of announcing plans to again send McHenry County police to Mexico in person, as was done in prior years, but did not rule out doing so in the future.
“I hope Sheriff Nygren can be trusted not to send our officers into what is currently extremely dangerous territory for Mexican military and peace officers, much less our officers,”
Mahon said. “And it would be the height of irresponsibility to send high school band members or school-age children when the U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory to Mexico, yet this idea was articulated by Nygren’s picked liaison to the Hispanic community.
“But revitalizing this costly plan at all is a bad idea for McHenry County,” Mahon said.
“In case Sheriff Nygren hasn’t noticed, law enforcement offices across this nation are cutting personnel left and right due to the economy. Are we to pay the salaries of McHenry County officers so they can do ride-alongs with Mexican police while we need them fighting crime right here? I don’t see any other counties even considering such a move.”
Mahon said that regular, mandatory training is important to sensitize police officers to different cultures they may encounter.
“Law enforcement officers should be sensitive to all local communities in order to increase their effectiveness and avoid unnecessary friction. I would continue and perhaps expand ongoing training efforts in this regard, especially in-service training and roll-call training. But I consider this recent announcement a politically motivated throwaway, and indicative, once again, of someone whose focus is outside McHenry County.”
“We need a Sheriff who will worry about the community he is responsible for, about the citizens of McHenry County and the officers who put themselves on the line everyday for that citizenry.
“As Sheriff I will ask myself three questions before initiating a new policy: 1. Will this make McHenry County safer? 2. Will the law-abiding citizens of McHenry County support it? and 3.Will the taxpayers of McHenry County benefit?”
Mahon further noted that Nygren’s liaison to the Hispanic community, local businessman Jose Rivera, is associated with La Rosita grocery store of Crystal Lake, which within the last week has been fined $2,500 and had its license to sell liquor revoked due to its third violation of the offense of selling liquor to minors.
“I don’t know if he’s picked the right businessman to be the face of the Sheriff’s Office in the Hispanic community,” Mahon said. “La Rosita has certainly not shown itself to be a role model for law-abiding businesses.”