Jim Harrison Lays Out Program to Protect School Children

Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison

McHenry County Republican Sheriff’s candidate Jim Harrison shares his thoughts on school safety below. It is taken from his web site.


Since the shooting of 13 students at Denver’s Columbine School in 1999, our country has undergone a violent series of school shootings.

In December of 2012, 20 children and 6 adults were killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut.

Since Newton, there have been three more shootings at schools.

And we don’t need to go that far away to find an example closer to home.

Many McHenry County residents remember that in 2008, 22 people, including students and faculty, were shot in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, and four of the shooting victims were killed. The problem may be national, but I believe the solution is local.

Although resolution of the societal problem of school shootings may continue to elude legislators, I believe that here in McHenry County, we can do something about the problem – together – as a county-wide community.

As a community we cannot ignore the problem of school shootings – hoping they will go away.

Parents, teachers, students, and school administrators should not be asked to wait, hope, and pray that such a tragedy does not happen in McHenry County.

And while the legislature is busy debating which weapons they could ban, the shootings continue, and we, as a national community, continue to bury our children.


It’s time to take action. I have a plan to protect our children.

My Plan of Action

The Sheriff has the responsibility to keep the peace and to protect the people of McHenry County. Similarly, the Regional Superintendent of Schools has the responsibility to enforce health and life safety standards in all school buildings in McHenry County. In light of the common duties and the combined county-wide jurisdiction of the Sheriff and of the Regional Superintendent of Schools, I have designed a plan to work together with the Regional Superintendent of Schools, and with all of the community leaders and school officials in McHenry County, to put into place a program to protect our children while they are at school. The program is aptly named:


Simply stated, the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program would place a highly-trained, state-certified, professional police officer in every school in McHenry County, including private schools, all day, every school day, throughout the year. The officer would be responsible for protecting the security of the children, the adults, and the facility, from internal and/or external threats of violence.

The SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program would require Intergovernmental Agreement

The SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program would require intergovernmental agreements between

  • the County of McHenry,
  • the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office,
  • the McHenry County Regional Office of Education, and
  • every municipality and school district in McHenry County.

Because the program might also implicate some collective bargaining agreements, the input and cooperation of the local police labor unions may be needed as well. Although the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program would necessarily require the cooperation of many government, community, and school leaders, no better cause and no higher priority exists than the protection of the children of McHenry County while they are at school.

Although the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program may sound like a big endeavor, (and it is), it would also be a very big first step toward providing real protection to our children while they are at school.

How would the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program work?

The theory is to pool together all of the professional, state-certified law enforcement officers in McHenry County (including current and retired county deputy sheriffs and municipal police officers) and to compile a list of officers who are interested in working part-time for the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program during their off-duty hours. From the list, every school in McHenry County would be staffed 10-hours per day with a certified law enforcement officer. Municipal police officers, while working for the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program, would be given extended law enforcement jurisdiction from the Sheriff, and authorization from the Regional Office of Education, to enable them to work at any school building in any city, village, town or rural area in McHenry County.

And from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., on every single school day throughout the year, a state-certified, professional police officer will secure our schools, and shield and protect our children from harm.

How would the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program be funded?

Funding for the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program could come from a variety of sources including all of the units of local government involved; i.e., school districts, municipalities, and McHenry County. The costs of the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program, and the costs of insuring the program, could also be shared across the county via intergovernmental agreements.

Additionally, state and/or federal grants may also be available to assist in funding the program. For example: The United States Department of Justice, through their Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), could be a source of federal funding for the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program, by means of its “Secure Our Schools Program” which provides federal grants to support initiatives to improve school safety.

Because the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program would be a part-time program, the school districts would not have to pay costly overtime rates or expensive employment benefits. Neither would school districts have to train, outfit, or equip officers. Instead, highly-trained, state-certified, professional police officers would be present every school day to secure our schools and to protect our children.

Putting the Costs into Perspective

To help put things into perspective somewhat, consider this: McHenry County/Sheriff’s Office spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year employing people whose job it is to protect the judiciary and the courthouse. It should be equally important to protect our children and their schoolhouse!

Whether you have children or grandchildren in school in McHenry County, everyone would rest a little easier knowing that the children of McHenry County are being protected by professional police officers when they are at school.

The Duty of Government to Protect Our Children

When school officials take custody of our children during the school day, they act in a capacity known to law as “loco parentis” which means “in the place of the parent(s).” In addition to the legal authority parents (and school officials acting in the place of parents) have over children, they also have legal responsibilities. One of the responsibilities of being a parent, and of acting in the place of the parent, is the responsibility to protect the children from harm. Protecting our children while they are at school is the shared responsibility of the School Districts, the Regional Superintendent of Schools, the Sheriff’s Office and municipal law enforcement agencies across McHenry County, and the motivation behind the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program.

Admittedly, a comprehensive school security program requires more than a police officer being stationed at the school. Written safety guidelines, installation of security equipment, cameras and alarms, evacuation drills and emergency response protocols all play a role in security, … just to name a few. But generally speaking, criminal offenders avoid going to places where the police are stationed to commit their crimes. Drive-by shootings don’t happen in front of police stations. The reason is because the police are armed and trained and prepared to respond to threats of armed violence. [Afraid that he might encounter armed resistance, the shooter at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, went to two other movie theaters first before committing his carnage at the only theater of the three that prohibited the concealed carrying of firearms.]

A highly-trained professional police officer can provide a strong, often impenetrable, first line of defense against an armed assailant attempting to enter a school. Moreover, a police officer can immediately summon the assistance of other officers via police radio, and take a tactical or defensive position until other reinforcement units arrive. As Sheriff, I will urge the Regional Superintendent of Schools, the School Districts, and other involved units of local government to work with me to secure every school in McHenry County and to shield our students from harm.

As Sheriff, I will make the protection of our school children a top priority. I believe the Sheriff has a duty to protect everyone in McHenry County, and no one deserves and needs our protection more than our children. Regardless of where you live in McHenry County, or where you worship, or where you work, or where your children attend school, the importance of protecting all of our school children from threats of armed violence is a shared priority concern. The children of McHenry County are our legacy, and when I am elected Sheriff, I will take affirmative steps to bring government and school leaders together as a county-wide community, to protect and enable our children’s futures. Let’s work together so that our children can focus on their studies and look forward to their futures, while a professional, highly-trained, state-certified police officer watches over them and shields them from harm.

As a candidate for Sheriff, I will continue to develop this initiative during the campaign, so that when I am elected Sheriff, we can immediately begin to implement the SHIELD OUR STUDENTS program, and take further steps to secure our schools and to protect our children.

Shield Our Students ~ Secure Our Schools

Innovation in Law Enforcement ~ Raise the Bar!

Elect Jim Harrison McHenry County Sheriff in 2014!


Jim Harrison Lays Out Program to Protect School Children — 32 Comments

  1. The devil is in the details.

    Harrison no doubt will eventually work them out; just as soon as he understands that the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School occurred in NEWTOWN, CT not NEWTON, CT.

    Perhaps he was referring to the shootings of the past in Newton (Division), Los Angeles, CA… understand there are quite a few shootings there and they are typically well attended by the police.

  2. Instead of ‘Raise the Bar’, how about just ‘Raise the Taxes’?

    I sure get tired of these bandwagoning, politically correct, overreactions to anomolous events.

    You can’t stop the lone nut.

    What part of history doesn’t Harrison get?


    But if it’s any consolation to Harrison, there are 10,000 other school districts, that can’t afford to give school kids bodyguards.

  3. Useful idiot is right.

    He was very useful to the former, disgraced SA GARY PACK and that crowd.

    They were very useful to him to the tune of millions of county money.

    He could not make it on his own as an attorney and was a lousy businessman, so, now he needs money.

    A government job is his answer.

    If he cannot make it on his own and with his history, he should not get a dime of our tax money.

    Putting all of that aside, Prim’s qualifications blow Harrison and Zinke out of the water.

  4. And what is his real stand on “right to carry”?

    Instead of turning schools into “gun free zones”, bring back school rifle clubs.

    I question the use of “useful” in front of “idiot”.

  5. I personally think its a great idea.

    I would much rather see my taxes raised if needed to support this program rather than them being raised like they have been to help fund students who’s families take advantage of the system by having registration fees and school lunches paid for by the tax payers as they drop their children off in expensive vehicles and name brand clothing.

    Harrison is on the right track here and unfortunately society has dictated the need for armed personnel in our schools.

  6. I’m so sick of hearing people talk about Gary Pack.

    Can we please move to 2013.

    This is a good idea Jim.

  7. Shield Our Students sounds like a great program!

    I find it refreshing to have someone who is willing to be proactive, someone who wants to take steps to deter crime and do what is right for the Citizens of McHenry County.

    We have to get out of the mindset that “bad things would never happen here.”

    Unfortunately they can.

    God forbid something happen in one of our schools.

    People would be saying, “why wasn’t there a better police response” or “we should have done something to protect the victims.”

    Times have changed and we no longer live in a world where we can assume our children will be safe in school.

    We can’t assume anyone will be safe in school.

    Jim Harrison is thinking outside of the box and that is something long overdue for this County.

    Excellent idea Mr. Harrison!!

    You have your priorities in line and I completely support this idea!

    Keep up the good work.

    We need someone who will offer the best service to ALL the Citizens, not someone who will offer the best service to whoever pays the most towards a campaign.

  8. Great video.

    Too much common sense.

    Actually trying to fix problems instead of sensationalizing is not something our politicians know how to do.

  9. We get the same old rhetoric from FYI.

    Blame Pack, blame Harrison.

    Get over it.

    The law suits under the previous and Pack pale in comparison to those brought under Nygren and Bianchi.

    How many hundred thousands as the county spent defending lawsuits and paying out settlements?

    As I said,Get over it, lets talk issues.

    I really like the idea brought forward by Harrison.

    Using the retired cops in the schools is a great idea.

    They are an untapped resource.

    If anyone reads the entire plan Harrison submitted, they have to admit that it makes great sense.

    The youtube video Another Watcher posted is great.

    Where are the huge crime problems?

    In the big urban areas where there are far left liberal leaders banning all guns.

    When you drive, do you say ” better roll up the windows and lock the car doors we’re driving through Bull Valley.”

    That being said, the school massacre in CT was an upscale area not much different from our area.

    We must guard against the nutcase. This plan does so without the huge costs.

    Just watch.

    Andy and his group will now jump in and copy this agenda becuase it make just far too much sense to ignore.

    I think this idea by Harrison is a home run.

  10. Really Justin? “without huge costs”?

    90 Public Schools in Mac County.

    180 School Days per year.

    Average Hourly, $26.53

    10 hours a day as proposed by this ‘home run’ hitter.

    $4,297,860 per year not including insurance costs, in case one of these guys slips and falls, on the way to the cafeteria.

    I’m also sure someone from We Are One Illinois, will want to work out some pension for these Public Servants, as well.

    You folks that think this lunacy is ‘proactive’, leave your address for the rest of us to send the bill.

  11. Part time security and marine unit deputies are somewhere around $14-15 dollars an hour.

    What cost do you place on school safety?

    There is better security going into Soldier Field than where our kids get educated.

  12. Anyone connected to Gary Pack was NOT ON THE RIGHT TRACK.

    The victims of that terrible administration are still hurting.

    Harrison was a great part of it.

    He does not have what we need.

    We DO NOT NEED MORE OF THE SAME garbage running things.

    So, John, when you walk in others shoes, then you have something to say.

    Destructive, selfish people are just that.

    Birds of a feather, flock together.

  13. Justin – we do not need people that want to depend on the government check to make a living because they failed every other way, do we???

  14. More government control which means more taxes for less freedom.

    Intragovernmental solutions create intragovernmental red tape.

    There should be no place in our country where we are fish in a barrel depending on someone else for our right to defend ourselves.

    If the schools take a dime from the Federal government they decide what will transpire.

    In essence we buy into more unions and more thuggery.

    No damn thanks.

    Teachers should be able to conceal carry.

    In Israel the teachers are armed at all times.

    Do you hear about school shootings there?

    If this guy calls himself a Republican whose platform is for less government be aware of his true progressive agenda hiding behind his (R).

  15. Forget about conceal carry!

    Go to open carry so everyone can see, including the students!

    One condition: All those carrying must be trained!

  16. 02/12/2013 at 2:06 pm FYI says:

    Justin – we do not need people that want to depend on the government check to make a living because they failed every other way, do we???


    FYI? Don’t you think the brush you’re swinging is a mite wide?

    Perhaps it’s also loaded with lacquer and the fumes have affected you.

    Your post says that anyone who works for the government is a failure in life.

    That’s simply not true.

    There are good and bad in government service just like there are everywhere.

    Some bureaucrats are quite bright and dedicated… true servants.

    Others are, like you, idiots.

    Learn to tell them apart and direct your venom to those who truly deserve it.

  17. Then we have another nut COP in California, and you want cops to protect the kids.

    It’s the NUTJOBS out there stupid.

    Grow up people.

  18. First of all I applaud Jim Harrison for thinking outside of the box and for the concern that he has for our children and grand children who attend our schools in McHenry County.

    I understand the economic issues that we are facing in today’s economy. It appears that some bloggers are concerned about the funds that are needed to run this program. Hopefully with Federal funding, assistance from the various school districts and the Sheriff’s Office being more fiscally responsible we can accomplish this goal. Any and all options will be explored to help finance this program.

    As a resident of this county the last thing I want to see is our taxes increase, but I guess the question that needs to be asked is what value do we place on the safety of our children?

    As a former law enforcement officer I was always taught to plan for the worst, but hope for the best. That’s why every option to fund this program needs to be looked at.

    Jim has a skill set that no other candidate brings to the table. Due to his experience and expertise he can save the County millions of dollars and end the wasteful spending that is currently occurring within the Sheriff’s Office. These funds that are saved can be used towards other more important programs like the one mentioned above.

    I have read numerous times on this site, Gus’s site and the Northwest Herald about disgruntled employees at the Sheriff’s Office. I ask you, the citizens, to ask Sheriff’s Office employees who they support in this election due to the fact that they are one of the most affected groups of people in this election. People need to know that the vast majority of employees at the Sheriff’s Office support Jim and what he stands for.

    The most important people in this election are the citizens of McHenry County. We need to ensure that they are provided the best possible service that the Sheriff’s Office has to offer. We all deserve better.

    I look forward to the many ideas Jim has for the Sheriff’s Office and the changes he plans on making.

  19. Jim comes up with a great idea – out of the box thought…!!

    Protecting the students is just the start.

    The influence that an officer can have on a students life is immeasurable.

    As these students build a relationship and communicate with the officer, it helps build trust between both parties.

    What’s the future of our community if we are unwilling to invest time and protection into our youth.

    As Benjamin Franklin said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Instead of worrying about the expense at the front end, calculate the savings on the back end, through crime prevention and reduction.

  20. How is another government program “thinking outside the box?”

    Whenever a politician starts by saying he’s doing it for the children RUN! As a society we have to stop looking at politicians to create anything but more problems in the name of doing so for the children.

    We need to quit relying on the next guy to solve our problems and fix ourselves and our families first.

    Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)

  21. I think this is a great idea.

    FYI needs to get over the Gary Pack years.

    “Anton Cundiff”? Where have I heard that name before? Wait, he’s named in Zane Seipler’s lawsuit.

    Probably best if he doesn’t openly support Harrison. Will only hurt Jim’s chances.

    Still like the idea and Harrison’s the first to strike on the issue.

  22. Oscar – you want me to get off of the Gary Pack thing!!

    Harrison was a part of a very bad crowd and that is important.

    Cundiff is Harrison’s selection for under sheriff and you think Cundiff is a problem.

    What does that say about Harrison??

  23. Mary,

    I am glad to see that you live in a world of denial.

    Fortunately the rest of us live in a world of reality.

    Without the structured program “Shield Our Students” that Jim is proposing, there is no deterrent for a person that wants to inflict harm on the children of the community.

    If you and your family need to be fixed, I am glad that you recognize it, but let the rest of us back a winning solution that Jim is proposing.

    We have taken enough away from our children’s education; let’s give them the protection they deserve while in school.

    Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.- Benjamin Franklin

  24. Who’s Gary Pack?

    FYI is always bring up this guy.

    I looked him up and he hasn’t been around for years.

    I agree with Oscar, find a new issue to attack. You aren’t changing anybody’s opinion throwing out the Gary Pack card.

    I’m guessing FYI is a senior citizen.

    Anyone under forty five years of age doesn’t know or care about Gary Pack.

    I looked up this Cundiff character.

    Either this guy is what Seipler says and has no business in law enforcement or he is or he’s a former Nygren butt kisser who is now one of the infamous “disgruntled” deputies that keep growing in number.

    Either way, stay retired.

    I do like the idea though.

  25. Duh how did you look up Anton Cundiff? I’d be interested to see what the world says about him.

    I find it strange that FYI, Oscar G and DUH are more concerned with Anton Cundiff than the man actually running for Sheriff. Maybe look up Harrison and see what he is made of.

    A known expert on employee law.

    A law professor teaching others about the topic at John Marshall Law School.

    All these law suits and how much was spent defending them and paying them off?

    I suggest that if we had Harrison rather than Nygren’s huge ego battling Bianchi we would be way ahead of the game.

    FYI mentioned Zane Seipler.

    Do you think Harriosn would have taken the same misguided steps as Nygren.

    As a lawyer he would have known to step back from emotion and abide by the law rather than waste taxpayer dollars fighting courts.

  26. Justin, FYI, DUH, did you forget about ZINKE? Zinke is Nygren’s stooge, his MinneMe. Zinke is fanning the flames directed at Harrison/Cundiff I’m sure he has his boys blogging and probably is sitting there doing it himself. You guys may be his own bloggers. Zinke and Nygren have done nasty things to anyone that even appears to support Cundiff but they do it under the excuse of management rights.

    DUH. Cundiff a “former Nygren butt kisser?” Cundiff is hardly a butt kisser. When he colored outside the lines, Zinke & Nygren threw him in a closet. Cundiff was the last of the free thinking merited rank tested CAPTAIN’S. They were not afraid to speak out. Now we have appointed COMMANDERS. Nygren’s yes men. If they don’t follow and do as told, they get demoted. Yes Men….no exam just kiss the ring for an appointment, nothing more. They know Nygren eats his own so they hold the line. Ask the retired employees.

    Zinke will always be marked as Nygren’s stooge and always suspected in the DEA / Rita Corp fiasco. Regardless if Nygren issued a press release that there was no rule violations, everyone expected that would occur and knew he wouldn’t do anything to his own stooge. Who investigated anyway? It as a political sham and coverup nothing more.

    Anton Cundiff is spot on when he says the people at the MCSO dislike Zinke. If the MCSO employees held the election, Zinke would be dead last. Cundiff is liked by most and his support of Harrison is a big plus.

  27. It’s time to leave the past behind and focus on the future. There should not be any question about keeping our children safe. Jim Harrison has a great idea here.
    As for those that keep bringing up the past, you either do not know how things have been and continue to be done in this County or you are a supporter of the real problem.
    Don’t judge a book by its cover. Do you really think Anton made the final decisions when he worked for the Sheriff’s Department? You don’t hear about the things he fought for or tried to “set straight.” All you hear about is the final decision. It was not Anton’s decision. Anton is an asset to Jim Harrison as they witnessed how bad it really was/is and want to do what’s right for the Citizens. They would make a great team!
    As for the Zane lawsuit, of course Anton is named in it. That’s the way lawsuits work against agencies.
    Cundiff and Harrison part of a very bad crowd? That is the image that may have been painted for some. Breaking away and doing what is right not only takes guts but it’s the right thing to do. It is actually a benefit. They know what needs to be corrected when the election rolls around.

  28. I LOVE the idea of “Shield Our Students”.

    I’m sure Mr. Harrison will get all the details ironed out with the help of Mr. Cundiff.

    To all the negative comments…change isn’t a bad thing.

    If you really knew and listened to Mr. Harrison and Mr. Cundiff you would see things in a new light.

    God Bless all who protect us and our children.

  29. I have seen other candidates in action during their fundraisers.

    Jim Harrison and Anton Cundiff have the best chance at this election.

    At least if you are listening to all of the candidates and haven’t let someone else make that decision for you. Between the two of them they have the experience needed to better the Sheriff’s Department and the services it provides.

    Keep the productive ideas rolling Jim!!

  30. Oh my goodness. Exactly the reason I hate this whole blogging process.

    Except for a few informative postings by Anton C. Cundiff, Patience, and Justin, nothing but mud slinging, trash talking, garbage on here.

    Would love if these blog sites were actually a place to come for good information that you knew was truthful and productive for the future.

    Too bad some of the political groups don’t use it for such and instead use it as a tool to “bash” their opponents in any way they see fit, truthful or otherwise seems to not matter.

    Doesn’t say much for our morals as people and after reading some of the absolutely ridiculously stupid comments on here, I completely understand why some people don’t use their real names.

    Oh well, I guess I’ll just keep checking this website to see if any other good information gets posted like this Shield Our Students Program that Harrison speaks of.

    Finally, somebody posted something worth reading.

    Sounds like a great idea and would love to be involved in somehow helping this program get started.

    For now, I will stop reading the comments posted by “FYI”, “DUH” and “Oscar G” as I feel there is no point to any of them.

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