In 2018, Sangamon County briefly went without its elected sheriff due to a quirk in state laws. State Senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield) has filed and passed legislation to fix the issue.
“This delay could have happened during a serious emergency, leaving the people of the county without their top law enforcement official when they are needed most,” said Senator McClure. “This legislation will make sure counties can rely on having their elected sheriff in place without any unnecessary delays.”
Current state law requires an elected sheriff to be sworn in on the first day of the month where the office is required to be open. In some years, that will not be the first day of the month. This was the issue faced by Sangamon County in 2018, when they weren’t able to swear in their newly-elected sheriff, Jack Campbell, until December 3rd. In that case, the county’s coroner had to assume the role between the end of the previous sheriff’s term until Sheriff Campbell’s swearing-in.
McClure’s legislation, Senate Bill 135, changes state law so that a newly-elected county sheriff enters the office on December 1st, regardless of what day of the week that falls on.
“This change is necessary to avoid a county going without a sitting sheriff, or having to ask the coroner of that county to assume the role temporarily,” said Campbell. “To ensure public safety, the office needs to be filled by the duly elected sheriff on December 1st, without delay.”
McClure’s legislation passed the Illinois Senate on April 21st and is now headed to the Illinois House for consideration in that chamber.