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Sauk looking to beef up campus security

School, faculty also agree to 1-year contract renewed

DIXON – Nearly 1 year after getting the Lee County Sheriff’s Department involved in its security detail, Sauk Valley Community College wants to beef up the force by adding one or two part-time deputies.

The college’s board of trustees approved the proposal Monday at its monthly meeting; the Lee County Board also must sign off on the plan.

Two part-time college resource officer positions will fill a recent full-time security officer vacancy, Dean of Information and Security Eric Epps said. He wants a sheriff’s department presence in the evenings and when the college’s full-time CRO, deputy Kyle Kellen, is unavailable.

Having Kellen on site has “completely changed” Sauk’s whole approach to security, Epps said.

“It’s been tremendously beneficial, not only in making us more prepared in having that law enforcement presence on campus, but also the relationship with the sheriff’s department and other agencies has been valuable for us as a college.”

The partnership has worked out “extremely well,” Lee County Sheriff John Simonton said in agreement.

“Kyle has done an outstanding job of working with the staff and students, coordinating plans with current security personnel, updating crisis response plans, organizing small drills and exercises with the staff and enhancing security measures by installing additional cameras and limiting access points,” Simonton said.

The Sauk and county board signed off on a 5-year contract for the college resource officer position in August 2018, and Kellen began work Dec. 1.

Sauk spent about $114,000 this first year, about $7,000 more than estimated, Epps said, but that included some one-time vehicle and equipment costs.

The new deputies will patrol the campus, create school safety plans, train security officers, students and staff for incidents such as an active shooter situation, enforce laws and investigate threats.

The part-time positions pay $16.65 an hour with no more than 1,000 hours worked during the year if the officer is not retired; otherwise, the number of hours would depend on the officer’s retirement system requirements. Payroll will come through the college’s tort fund, which can go toward security expenses. Benefits are not included.

Sauk has four security officers – three full-time and one part-time – and also contracts with Stewart Security during off-business hours.

Sauk is looking for consistency with the positions once filled. Many current deputies already work overtime, but are open to apply as long as their full-time jobs take precedent, Simonton said.

“Ideally, it would be someone recently retired, looking for some part-time work in their field,” the sheriff said.

Also Monday, the board also approved a 1-year contract with the college’s faculty association.

Changes were made to the salary schedule, including equal steps in salary progressions.

“The administration and board members are committed to recruiting and retaining highly qualified and dedicated faculty and maintaining a fair, intuitive, and transparent salary schedule,” professor and faculty association president Amy Jacobson said.

Sauk President David Hellmich hopes the new contract will serve as a basis for a 3-year contract to be drawn in 2020.

A contract of that length was in place until 2016, when state budget uncertainties affected aid and made it difficult to forecast raises set forth in a multiyear deal, Hellmich said.

Next meeting

The Sauk Valley Community College Board of Trustees next meets at 6 p.m. Dec. 16 at the college, 173 state Route 2, Dixon.

An agenda will be posted on Sauk’s website,, no later than 48 hours before the meeting.

Call 815-288-5511 for more information.

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