So the Sheriff said he thinks the next guy in charge should have a four year degree and one of the candidates doesn’t have one. What is the big deal?
Was there some secret that Neil Williamson supports Jack Campbell? Was it not clear when Sheriff Williamson said out loud in front of several microphones and cameras months ago that he was stepping down and he was supporting Jack Campbell? Why are people acting like last week was the first time he ever said he didn’t think that Wes Barr is as qualified to be Sheriff. I do want to clarify that too. He basically said Barr isn’t as qualified not that he isn’t qualified.
People are acting like Williamson is singling out Barr by just pulling these comments about a 4 year degree out of his rear end. But that is simply not the case. It was many years ago when Neil Williamson first started talking about raising the education standards for Deputies. He eventually made it mandatory that all new deputies have at least 4 years of college. It has been the requirement for quite some time. It’s not like he just instituted it last week.
Wes Barr immediately went on the defensive talking about his experience in working as a Deputy and his experience of being the military. He also said if elected he will consider getting rid of the education requirement for new deputies.
I’m not sure going with the experience angle is the one Wes Barr should go for. Let’s face it. Jack Campbell has been doing the duties of Sheriff on and off for a few years now. He is the guy who gets the overnight calls. He is the guy running things while Sheriff Williamson was getting surgery and recovering from it. He is the guy who has run things while Williamson has been on vacation or just taking a day off. Jack Campbell’s amount of experience doing the job by far out weighs anyone in Sangamon County outside of Neil Willamson.
My advice to Wes Barr is to point out that Sheriff Williamson has made it very clear that he supports Jack Campbell and he is welcome to do so. Then Wes Barr should go back to school. Take some night classes. Take some online classes. Apply to have military and deputy service turned into credit hours at UIS or Lincoln Land. Join the Sheriff in agreeing that an educated lawman is better than a non educated lawman but an educated lawman with experience is even better. Point out that Military Service along with education and experience is even better than that.
By all means though, lets not waive an education requirement that helps make our new deputies some of the most intelligent and well rounded in the state simply because of politics.