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Sheriff Sandage Reflects On Changes And Achievements

Uniform wearing sheriff stands with one hand on podium and the right hand gesturing
Colleen Reynolds
/
WGLT Radio
McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage announced this week he will not run for a third term.

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage said when he leaves office at the end of next year he hopes society will continue improving programs to reduce repeat crimes. He also thinks reducing penalties for drugs is a bad direction society is taking, but so is ignoring needs for treatment.

"I think we have pretty much shown that locking up addicts for drug offenses and then not giving them the services they need leads to a revolving door. These folks need rehabilitation and counseling, and locking them up without giving them that is not the answer," said Sandage.

He said most officers acknowledge some things need to change, but lawmakers also should try to gauge the impact of those changes on public safety. Sandage said drugs cause a lot of crime, and are tied particularly to weapons offenses.

During his career, he said the perception of law enforcement has changed dramatically and there is growing disrespect for that role in society. He called that disheartening. Sandage said law enforcement is more accountable now than before and that's a good thing. He said law enforcement to some extent is being blamed for the laws that are creating tension in society right now.

Sandage announced this week he will not run for a third term. He has spent 30 years in law enforcement and 6 1/2 years as sheriff. He plans to leave office at the end of 2022 with no major projects undone.

"Right now, we are in the process of testing body cameras. We will have those deployed ahead of the state mandate," he said.

Sandage said one of the high points of his career was finishing a large jail expansion and the addition of mental health programming at the detention facility.

Sandage said he's not sure what he'll do in 2023 after he retires, though he has some hobbies he wants to pursue.

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