It wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks thought he could use the killing of George Floyd to damage Sheriff Bill Prim.
As Rahm Emmanuel famously advised Bill Clinton, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”
Prim is independently elected and does not report to Franks, as much as Franks would like him to.
And, there was a crisis, right?
So, it seems that County Administrator Peter Austin was given the task.
The major problem, as Austin discovered after talking with Prim, was that chokeholds by law enforcement was prohibited by the Illinois General Assembly several years ago.
And the cowboy antics of deputies in previous administrations have not appeared under Prim. (See here “Major Portions of Pavlins’ Case against Sheriff’s Department Going to Trial” and here “Summary of Jerome and Carla Pavlin Case against the Sheriff’s Department and Legal Fees So Far.”)
No hints under Prim of a deputy’s dropping a gun after the shooting death of a recent high school graduate as a girlfriend of the young man shot long ago revealed to a friend at a high school reunion.
But, there was a crisis, so opportunity was at hand.
Hence, the following resolution:
RESOLUTION ACKNOWLEDGING THE PROCEDURES OF THE MCHENRY COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE PERSONNEL RELATED TO THE USE OF FORCE.
WHEREAS, one of the fundamental concerns of McHenry County is to protect the public and the employees of McHenry County from undue harm; and
WHEREAS, McHenry County appreciates the positive image and relationships of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and it’s personnel to the citizens of the County and the State of Illinois; and
WHEREAS, McHenry County wishes to continue its proactive approach to public safety and lead by example, and
WHEREAS, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office provides modern training and equipment to the Sheriff’s Office Personnel in order to provide safety for its citizens and the employees of the County; and
WHEREAS, it is understood and appreciated that the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office is in the State of Illinois for professional law enforcement and is always learning, growing, evolving and adapting to new social norms.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, this County Board of McHenry County, Illinois, acknowledges that the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office abides by 720 ILCS 5/7-5.5 prohibiting the use of chokeholds; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by this County Board of McHenry County, Illinois, that the Board acknowledges that the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office will continue to have all officers report any use of force by any officer, including their own use of force; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, this County Board of McHenry County, Illinois, is aware that the Sheriff’s Office has earned four separate law enforcement accreditations, an accomplishment almost unheard of among the 3,141 counties in the United States:
ACA- American Correctional Association
NCCHA- National Commission on Correctional Healthcare
CALEA Law Enforcement – Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
CALEA Public Safety Communication and through this accreditation all use of force incidents are reported and documented for audit annually by an outside, independent panel of experts; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the County Clerk is hereby authorized to distribute a certified copy of this Resolution to the County Clerk; the McHenry County Sheriff Office; the McHenry County States Attorney’s Office; the Deputy County Administrator; and the County Administrator.
DATED at Woodstock, Illinois, this 21st day of July, A.D., 2020
Laudatory, wouldn’t you agree?
The discussion during committee might add some light.
After an introduction of the resolution by Austin, Jeff Thorsen explained, “We’re not changing anything, because we’ve been doing it right.”
Democrat Kelli Wegener said she had as “few interactions with the County Sheriff as possible,” adding that “growth [comes] from uncomfortable discussions.”
Wegener applauded the accreditations that the Sheriff’s Office had achieved and pointed out the “resolution is not an attack on the Sheriff’s Department.”
She did refer more broadly to the need for “social justice due to systemic racial discrimination.”
Committee Chairman Robert Nowak characterized the resolution as “excellent.”
Austin noted that of the over 3,000 counties, “fewer than seventy have three accreditations.
“What a Sheriff’s Department we have that emphasizes that professionalism.”
Indicating that the chokehold death in Minneapolis was the stimulant for the resolution, Austin revealed that he “didn’t know the choke hold [was] not legal in Illinois” and “hasn’t been for several years.”