I couldn't let the recent retirement of Capt. Steve Johnson from the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department go without comment. Johnson supervised several key offices under the previous sheriff. He did an outstanding job of protecting the public. He used his broad experience (FBI Academy, Homeland Security instructor, etc.), to improve an already professional law enforcement agency.
Under the new sheriff, Johnson was moved to supervise one office, although important, with few people. This does not imply that the new sheriff doesn't have the right to organize his department in any way he wants. But perhaps the department didn't use the skills of Johnson to their fullest potential.
On a broader scale the method used in Illinois of selecting sheriffs and judges by election is flawed in my view. Mixing these two highly technical professions in politics is dangerous. The people who fill these positions should be selected for their professional competence and not on political party loyalty.
The recent tragic incident resulted in the loss of one judge and the criminal involvement of another. The fact that the one judge was the son of a leaders of the leading political party in the county may have had something to do with his selection.
I offer my congratulations and thanks to Johnson for his years of hard work.