Using sheriff right choice for Union

By Observer editorial June 06, 2012 01:13 pm
The City of Elgin has contracted with the Union County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services, a move we hope will end the bitter acrimony that has plagued the community for nearly a year.

Elgin’s police department crumbled in the wake of last August’s shooting of city resident Richard Shafer by Officer Erik Kilpatrick during a domestic disturbance call. 

Though a grand jury ruled the shooting justified, public outrage over the incident and a host of other law enforcement-related issues continued. Lynch and Kilpatrick resigned in October, leaving the city without any officers.

The uproar was so great that a group of citizens tried to recall Mayor John Stover because they blamed him for what happened to the police department. Stover survived a recall election but doubts over the city’s ability to manage its own police department remain.

The Elgin City Council spent months searching for a new chief, but was unable to come up with a suitable candidate. In the meantime, Union County sheriff’s reserves have been providing coverage under a temporary contract and they have done a good job.

Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen said the contract will provide the city with law enforcement services comparable to what it had when it ran its own department.

The difference is that local law enforcement will be supervised by Rasmussen, a well respected professional.

Stability and continuity are good things when it comes to policing and contracting with the Sheriff’s Office was the best move Elgin could make to ensure public safety.

Now that this unfortunate chapter in Elgin’s history is coming to a close, the citizens of Elgin polarized by the issue should embrace each other and focus their energies on creating a better future for Elgin.