In the Republican Primary there are three candidates seeking their party’s nomination to succeed retiring Sheriff Richard Randall: In this race we endorse Baird.
In selecting Baird we note that he is the one candidate who has prior experience working in the sheriff’s office. When he was hired as a patrol officer with the Oswego Police Department in 1994, Baird had worked the previous four years as a deputy in the sheriff’s office.
In Oswego, he worked his way up through the ranks from patrol officer to sergeant to captain/commander before being appointed police chief in 2003. Under Baird’s leadership, the village police department has grown as the village’s population surpassed the 30,000 mark. Despite the village’s rapid growth during his tenure as chief, the village’s crime rate has remained low and violent crimes are still rare.
In addition, under Baird’s direction, the department became one of the first municipal law enforcement agencies in Illinois to earn national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The accreditation means the department and its 47 patrol officers have met and adhere to the highest of law enforcement standards and professionalism.
Village President Brian LeClercq and the village board thought enough of Baird’s abilities as an administrator to name him as interim village administrator in 2011. His successful one-year stint in the job allowed him to further polish his administrative and leadership skills. As a candidate, Baird has pledged to work to restore the image of the sheriff’s office, which has taken a serious hit over the past few years due to the settlement of sexual harassment lawsuits and, just last month, the filing of a sexual misconduct charge against a corrections deputy.
In addition, Baird’s promised a re-evaluation of the sheriff’s office patrols in unincorporated areas of the county like Boulder Hill to make sure deputies are being deployed to best serve the public. Having grown-up in Boulder Hill, Baird is also keenly aware of the law enforcement challenges facing the subdivision and its more than 8,200 residents.
Based on his solid performance as chief of the largest municipal police department in Kendall County, we believe Baird has the proven administrative and leadership ability to guide the sheriff’s office into a new era of integrity and improved public service.
This Story is Credited to Editorial Staff of the Kendall County Record