FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2018
Illinois Fraternal Order of Police LABOR COUNCIL
974 Clock Tower Drive, Springfield, IL 62704
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 207 has announced their support of Republican candidate Steve Spear for Coles County Sheriff in the March 20 primary election.
Spear has continuously displayed outstanding leadership skills as a member of Lodge 207 whose values and work experience represent our members. As a Coles County Deputy for the last 17 years, Spear has served honorably as a corrections officer, corrections sergeant, patrolman, patrol sergeant, detective, narcotics investigator, SWAT officer, SWAT team commander, firearms instructor, and field training officer encompassing all branches of the department.
There has been a consistent lack of presence and leadership from current Sheriff James Rankin that we believe Spear will remedy if elected Sheriff of Coles County.
The 40 members of Lodge 207 believe that Rankin has failed to maintain the department’s training and overtime budgets resulting in a lack of training, high employee turnover rate, and a drop in morale. Funds which would normally be used for ongoing training are now being used to continuously train newly hired officers, many of whom have sought employment elsewhere shortly after their initial training due to the current conditions within the department.
State law requires that minimum staffing levels be maintained at all times at the jail and public safety considerations dictate that minimum staffing levels be maintained on patrol. When there aren’t enough employees to cover all shifts, deputies and correctional officers are forced to work overtime. This costs more money and decreases employee effectiveness and morale, so taxpayers end up paying more money for less effective service.
The current high turn-over rate within the department has caused the department’s overtime expenses to go over budget. In addition to the expense of training new officers, new officers do not count on the schedule during their field training phase, which can last up to four months. This means the department is paying two officers’ salaries for one slot on the schedule during field training.
When a department is constantly training new employees for the same reoccurring open positions it creates a vacuum of funds which will continue to grow unless the problem is corrected.
Since Rankin has been in office he has failed to identify and correct this problem. Lodge 207 believes that Steve Spear will take the actions necessary to correct the problem.
In another example of the current sheriff’s lack of presence, during the most recent contract negotiations between Lodge 207 and the administration, Rankin was not present for the entire negotiating process. This caused the process to drag on longer than was necessary because the members of his administration who were present could not speak on his behalf.
On behalf of the members of FOP Lodge 207, we encourage all the citizens of Coles County to vote on March 20 and ask for your support for Steve Spear for Coles County Sheriff.
FOP Lodge 207 is represented by the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, a law enforcement union representing more than 11,600 professionals in more than 514 bargaining units who work in the criminal justice system. The Labor Council negotiates and enforces contracts and improves salaries, working conditions, and benefits for law enforcement professionals throughout Illinois. Its members include police officers who work for municipalities, universities, and elected Constitutional officials; county sheriff’s deputies, correctional and court security officers; probation officers; 911 telecommunicators; law enforcement records personnel; and some related support staff.