League of Women Voters of Elmhurst
Voters Guide for the General Primary Election: March 20, 2018
Republican Candidate for Sheriff — James Mendrick
1. Where do you stand on gun control legislation?
A Sheriff is sworn to uphold the law, keep the residents safe and enforce the legislation that the voters desire. As Sheriff, I should not have the ability to pick and chose which laws that I enforce. The current legislation as it pertains to gun control needs to be strictly enforced. Gun crime is predominantly committed by people who possess the weapons illegally and it's my job to enforce gun laws and arrest those that have them illegally.
2. What are your thoughts on improving accountability within the Sheriff's Office to the public?
I believe the Sheriff must be accessible and open to the public, local governments, the County Board and the employees of the Office. I feel that vague press releases without a human component involved has hampered our ability to communicate with our residents. I will create a media center within our Office. I believe the local media and the Sheriff's Office could have a symbiotic relationship where we can easily relate important facts and information to media outlets which would improve public safety operations and efficiencies. Crimes in progress, missing people or other evolving incidents could quickly be relayed to citizens through media resources. Partnerships between law enforcement and the media gives residents more information quickly and enhances our transparency. Every strategy I plan to deploy revolves around a teamwork oriented approach. All of the stakeholders within DuPage County can work together to make a real difference in enhancing our quality of life and increasing the safety of our communities. No true progress will occur if everyone is doing their own thing. The Sheriff's Office is in a unique position where we could be the heart of a cooperative county wide model that will consolidate cost and bring a myriad of new and enhanced services to the residents of DuPage County.
3. If elected, what are your plans to keep up the funding for the current DuPage County crime lab and will it remain free for other DuPage municipalities?
The funding for the DuPage County Crime Lab is contingent on the overall health of our global budget. Solid, fiscal strategies will be critical in 2019. I'm the only candidate that has managed the agency wide budget and headcount process. Intricate knowledge of the budget is of paramount importance during these fiscally challenging times. This gives me the ability to introduce new initiatives that will make our county safer while simultaneously saving taxpayer dollars. New initiatives are only possible if they can be afforded in the budget. Our technology is very outdated. Expensive and archaic site based server rooms and technology are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Our operation could be converted to cloud based application technology that utilizes tablets that could be leased, and as a subscriber, we would save a significant amount of taxpayer dollars while catapulting our technological capabilities decades forward.
Cost savings can also be garnered by diverting non violent offenders with mental illness or developmental disorders from the jail to private treatment. This is an opportunity where doing the right thing is also a fiscal gain.
Another initiative that carries significant cost savings is bulk purchasing. If the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office combined purchasing efforts for equipment with the local police agencies and the collar counties, there would be financial savings to all who participate simply by utilizing a cooperative team approach. Buying pallets of equipment and breaking the product up between multiple agencies will creat yet another saving of taxpayer money.
One budget solution will not fix our budget problems but many strategies chained together will have a significant impact on our agency. We've been using 20th century strategies to solve 21st century problems and we need to evolve. I will be able to maintain funding for the DuPage County Crime Lab and I have no intention to charge other agencies for services that are critical for the safety of residents of DuPage County.
4. Where do you see the use and potential growth of the K-9 unit in 2019 and 5 years beyond?
I've been the Canine Commander for over ten years. This is a unit that needs to be expanded. Our dogs provide very unique safety services. The bloodhound canines can find missing people, lost children or suspects of a crime miles away. These types of calls require a massive amount of manpower, resources and overtime expenses until they're resolved. A bloodhound can bring many of these incidents to a quick conclusion. This creates a safer county while saving money. Adding another two bloodhounds would offer our Office and countywide assistance to other agencies for lifesaving missions. We only have one drug detection canine currently and that canine team is retiring May 2018. I have been unable to gain permission from the current administration to replace this critical asset so we will no longer provide this service. I strongly believe that during this current opioid crisis, we need these canines I will place a drug detection canine on each shift. This increases drug detection not only for the Sheriff's Office but they can assist the other thirty two municipal police agencies within DuPage County. This will take dope off our streets and the asset seizures will take "bad guy" money to help fund our operations. The dogs are not expensive and the services they provide pays for themselves ten times over. We have one hazardous device canine (bomb dog) placed in the courthouse. I would also have an additional bomb dog out on patrol. These canines can detect a myriad of explosives, guns and bullet casings. This would create quick response to volatile incidents where people can get hurt if quick detection isn't accomplished.
These canines have abilities that a human does not possess. We need these dogs to keep residents safe and at the same time, they save taxpayer dollars by bringing in drug money and resolving major incidents that require mass amounts of overtime. This is an essential service that I will provide to local law enforcement agencies and the residents of DuPage County.
The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan political organization, neither supports nor opposes any candidate.