Sheriff coding policies remain

Lisa Hammer

Foresight on the part of an employee in the Henry County sheriff’s department 14 years ago has helped the county remain in good standing with the federal government in terms of grant eligibility.

 Back in 1995, the state of Illinois changed the coding system for reporting crime statistics, with the expectation the federal government was about to change as well, according to Rosemary Rathjen, director of the county’s information services (computer) department.

 The federal government never changed, Rathjen told the county’s communications committee at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 7.

 This meant that most law enforcement agencies in Illinois were not in compliance with the federal standards for crime reporting, she said. 

 She said the way the state was reporting all crime stats was putting all entities at risk for not qualifying for federal monies, and it recently took four hours worth of conference calls to determine what the county needed to do.

 Fortunately, Elaine Helg of the sheriff’s department’s record division has kept records in both formats ever since 1995.

 “It could have been just hours and hours of work, but we were able to do it pretty quickly,” said Rathjen.

 “Fortunately, Elaine has been doing it both ways,” she added.

 Henry County Sheriff Gilbert “Gib” Cady said the sheriff’s department in now receiving money from the federal level for three laptop computers.