Sheriff's candidate Joe Bedford

Sandy Hull
Joe Bedford

    Joe Bedford is 43 years old and from Geneseo. He is a graduate of AlWood High School, Woodhull.

   Other training or schooling includes: Illinois State Police Mobile Training (Telecomunicator); Police Training Institute University of Illinois (Police Officer); Police Training Institute University of Illinois (Correctional Officer); Illinois Fire Service Institute University of Illinois (Fire Fighter II); Basic Swat; WMD Tactical Commander; WMD Tactical Operations; WMD Advanced Tactical Operations; WMD HazMat Technician; WMD Incident Command; WMD Rope Rescue Technician; Louisiana State University NCBRT Certified Instructor(Active) and Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board Instructor (Active).

    He has been employed by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office Departy Sheriff Patrol Division since 1998.

    Bedford served four years in the United States Navy on UUS Enerprise (CVN-65) as a peronnelman 3rd Class/E-4.

    He has earned several commendations. They include:  1986 – Meritorious Unit Commendation; 1986 – Navy Expeditionary Medal; 1987 – Meritorious Unit Commendation; 1988 – Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation; 1988- Navy Battle "E" Ribbon; 1988 – Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; 1988 – Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 1 Bronze Star and 1989 – Good Conduct Medal.

Why are you running?

    Being a taxpayer myself, and working at the Sheriff’s Office, I think it is time to be more "Progressive and Proactive" when it comes to the way this county is applying Law Enforcement.  I will inform and educate the public and County Board on how the office operates and what it takes to make it work for the taxpayers.  I feel that there is lack of communication on all "sides" that needs to be addressed. I want to align myself with the taxpayers and the County Board to work as a team with a common goal.   

What would you like to accomplish in the next four years?

  I would like to see the Sheriff’s Office, County Board and citizens committee’s working "together" for the betterment of taxpayers while still being conscious of the budget.  We will be active in every division at the Sheriff’s Office, working in concert with all Law Enforcement agencies to help each other with shortfalls when it comes to gaps in manpower.  We must ensure that we will not compromise the safety of citizens, correctional staff, and inmates by moving dollars away from the core of what we are meant to do. I would like to re-evaluate and reorganize certain divisions of the Sheriff's Office to make it more efficient toward this goal.

If you are elected, what will be different when your term ends in four years?

    Open lines of communication between the County Board, the staff, and especially the taxpayers of Henry County.  I think the citizens of this county will see a better "product" and more bang for their buck. 

What do you think the Sheriff’s Dept. does right now?

   I feel that the Sheriff’s Office is geared more toward a "reactive" organization right now with only the basics being done. We patrol, answer calls, maintain a jail, and serve civil papers.  We need to get proactive with educational programs, develop more Deputy and citizen committees for preventive measures to address the needs of the taxpayers, and do whatever it takes to get a jump in front of crime to help prevent bad things from happening. 

The Sheriff’s budget always seems to be the topic. How will you help that situation improve?

   The Sheriff’s budget is one of the biggest expenses for the Taxpayers. I, along with my staff and the board, will aggressively seek out and apply for Federal and State grants.  We have two Ethanol Plants producing millions of gallons of alternative fuel in Henry County.  If we are driving flex-fuel squad cars, why not ask about some donated fuel to help promote E-85. We could help promote the idea with some kind of markings on the squad cars and/or pictures in trade magazines. In return for fuel donations, we would provide good advertisement.  I am not saying that the Ethanol plants will do this, but why not approach them and ask. We need to start thinking outside the box and become more creative. What we can't create on our own, we need to borrow from other agencies by replicating what other successful county's Sheriff Offices are doing. We will maintain the County’s lucrative business of housing Federal prisoners. This has been a great "cash" business providing additional funding to meet budget requirements. These are just a few ideas to relieve the burden to taxpayers of the expense of maintaining the jail and day to day operations.  In these tough times it is time to get "serious" and creative to help the Office to be more accountable with taxpayers dollars.

Hobbies or Extracurricular Activities?

    Spend time with my family; Coach Geneseo Youth Football; run/exercise; volunteer firefighter for Geneseo Fire; lifetime member of VFW Don Cherry Post 5083; safety officer for MABAS 39 HazMat and TRT Response Teams; safety officer for ILEAS Region 2 WMD SRT Team and instruct law enforcement and Other Emergency Agencies

    Bedford and his wife, Tammy, have three daughters, Kelsi, Kali and Kaci and one son, Tyson. A second son is due in May. The family also has two Shar-Pei’s, Isabella and Zoey.