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Police office no place for partisan politics

Published: Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

The articles in the Telegraph on Tuesday, Feb. 18, regarding the race for the Lee County sheriff’s position gave me cause for concern. A current Dixon police officer is seeking the Republican nomination for sheriff with the active support of a Dixon police lieutenant.

The articles include the apparent agreement of the Dixon police chief to the political positions they are using in their challenge to the incumbent. Not withstanding the disclaimer by the lieutenant that he is acting individually, the letter and articles leave little doubt that there is an effort by the leadership in the department to influence the partisan race for sheriff.

I don’t think our police department should be giving the impression that it involves itself in partisan politics, let alone the impression that it wants to take control of the county sheriff’s office.

The Dixon commissioner of Public Safety or the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners should act to protect the reputation of the police department. It has been a nonpartisan force operating without political influences and, consequently, has had the highest standing in our community. Let’s not compromise the high standards and reputation of our police department.

I also don’t believe any local citizen, whether living in or outside the city, should want a sheriff who was beholden to or otherwise under the influence of the city’s police authorities. The office of the sheriff should be independent.

John Varga is an excellent public servant. He is experienced and efficient – and independent. Let’s keep the Lee County sheriff’s office that way.

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