Editor’s Note: The following is a reprint of the questions and answers posed to the candidates for Shelby County Sheriff this past fall.
Two candidates for Shelby County Sheriff currently have their hats in the ring and will face off in the March election. Incumbent Sheriff Michael Miller has been challenged by Deputy Don Koonce.
In an effort to give voters information to make their decision, the Daily Union has offered the candidates a chance to address a few issues facing the department. The following responses are as provided from the candidates.
DU: What are your qualification for the Sheriff’s position?
Koonce: 36 plus years in law enforcement, 21 years at Shelby County Sheriff’s Department; US Army Veteran, Military Police; former officer of the East Central Illinois Drug Task Force; Clandestine Meth Lab certified; Currently working part-time as Police Officer in Shelby County
Miller: Having served nearly 8 years as sheriff of Shelby County my qualifications include experience in the position and a professional common sense approach to law enforcement. As sheriff I have maintained an efficient office, working within my budget, increasing patrols, obtaining grants for equipment and implementing new technology which has saved our county tax payers money. I have maintained or implemented programs such as DARE, TRIAD, Crime Stoppers and Offenderwatch. These programs provide proven crime prevention information and practices to help keep Shelby County safe.
DU: What improvements would you make to the department?
Koonce: Schedule meetings for the county communities, residents and organizations for input into how the Sheriff’s Office can best serve them.
Revitalize Neighborhood Watch programs county-wide.
Increase visibility of patrol deputies for more efficient law enforcement.
Make better use of scheduling of manpower to provide at least two Officers for each patrol shift and to obtain that goal, if needed, patrolling by the Sheriff and Sheriff’s Chief Deputy.