I am Joe Drought, a Republican candidate for sheriff of Ogle County. My experience in law enforcement began more than 32 years ago with the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, where I served for 7 1/2 years on active duty and 1 1/2 years in the Reserves.
I served in many different assignments, including patrolman, investigator, patrol supervisor, squad leader, intelligence section sergeant, and explosive detector dog handler. My assignments took me to duty stations here in the U.S., as well as in South Korea and West Germany, giving me the unique qualification of being the only candidate in this race to have enforced laws on three continents.
Upon leaving the Army, I was hired by the Ogle County Sheriff's Office. I served Ogle County as a deputy, detective, SWAT team member, and K-9 handler for more than 3 years under the leadership of Sheriffs Jerry Brooks and Mel Messer.
After this time, I had an opportunity to serve as a police officer at Rock Valley College Police Department, where I have been employed for the past 20 years. The last 17 of those 20 years, I have served as the chief of police of this department.
As chief, I have had to develop and manage budgets; negotiate union contracts; direct daily patrol operations; manage and direct criminal investigations; participate in the design of and oversee the building of a police structure; manage departmental training and employee development; and hire, counsel, and discipline employees, as needed.
The sheriff would have to perform the same types of tasks. I have the proven leadership skills and experience to perform these tasks, as I have been doing this job for the past 17 years.
At Rock Valley College, we enjoy a very low crime rate, even though we are located in Rockford, which is consistently ranked as the highest crime-rated city in Illinois. We employ effective law enforcement tactics and methods that contribute significantly to this low crime rate.
Under my direction over the past 17 years, the Rock Valley College Police Department has developed into a highly professional, well-trained, well-equipped, and community-focused department that works very closely with other local, state and federal agencies.
Although, there are many tasks and goals to accomplish, if I am fortunate to be elected as sheriff, I would like to identify a few of the main goals I have in mind.
First, I will establish proper financial processes, which promote fiscal responsibility, accountability, and transparency.
Next, I will refocus our uniformed patrol and crime prevention efforts back into the areas where we live, work and our children go to school.
In addition, we will further develop and strengthen our relationships with emergency response and management agencies to better respond to disasters and emergencies in Ogle County.
Given the opportunity to serve as sheriff, I know I possess the professionalism, integrity, experience, and proven leadership skills to lead the Ogle County Sheriff's Office into an agency of which we can all be proud.