STEPHENSON COUNTY, ILLINOIS — The executive director of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, Jim Kaitschuk, shared a message to Illinoians about the growing public safety threat as the state faces an unprecedented time in each of our lives.
“As we face an unprecedented and growing public safety threat, know that the dedicated first responders in law enforcement will answer the call. Nothing is more important to Sheriffs, deputies, chiefs and officers than the health and safety of our neighbors we serve. But, in the days and weeks ahead, we ask that you don’t make the jobs of first responders harder.
The environment is rapidly changing. It is important that citizens follow the advice of their local, regional, state and national health care professionals. While this safety challenge is global in nature, we can all expect our daily lives to be disrupted and impacted.
This is a time for all of Illinois to come together. The members of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association are in contact with one another to implement best practices, share resources and support our communities. Together, Sheriffs urge calm, compassion and care.
But we also want the public to know that law enforcement will continue to patrol our neighborhoods and enforce the law. We will not accept disorder, misconduct or criminal acts. Offenders will be held accountable.
Decisions about incarceration for crimes committed during this emergency period will be done in coordination and consultation with the judicial branch. The imposition of bail, which is always at the discretion of the local Judge and local States’ Attorney, will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Our priority, as always, is to discourage misbehavior and ensure that our communities are safe through reasonable criminal justice measures.
For individuals within the criminal justice system. To protect everyone’s health, the Illinois Department of Corrections and Sheriffs across Illinois have made adjustments and limited visitation at local jails and correctional facilities. These measures are temporary and will be reevaluated upon the advice of health professionals.
Do not make the jobs of first responders harder during this period of time. Remember every health care worker, deputy, officer, paramedic and fire fighter have a family at home they are concerned about too. We are in this together.
Be reasonable and responsible. Follow the direction and requests of health officials. Remain vigilant, take precautions and use your best judgement. If at any time you need assistance, your first responders are a call away.”
Jim Kaitschuk is the executive director of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association and an active deputy with a local Sheriff’s office.