Sheriff's candidate Jim Padilla

Sandy Hull
Jim Padilla

    James “Jim” Padilla is 56 years old and from Kewanee. He is a 1972 graduate of Kewanee High School and a 1974 graduate Black Hawk College with a major in law enforcement.

Other (vo-tech, business school, trade school, seminars, etc.: Police Training Institute Champaign; National Child Abuse Conferences in San Diego, CA and Dallas, TX; Forensic Interviewing of Children Philadelphia, PA; F.A.T.S. (Firearm Training System) Instructor Certification Rochelle; F.A.T.S. (Firearm Training System) Instructor/Trainer Springfield; Service Rifle Instructor Certification Princeton; Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Springfield; Basic Narcotics Investigation Springfield; Firearms Instructor Certification Training Springfield; FBI Sniper Certification Training Springfield, IL and East Moline; Basic EST (Tactical) Training Moline; Illinois Sheriff Association Training Conferences Mount Vernon and Springfield; Reid School of Interview and Interrogation Moline; POST (Police Officer Survival Tactics) Peoria; Street Survival Moline; Death Investigations Collinsville and Other law enforcement related trainings and seminars.

    He has been employed by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office since May of 1984 and is currently a chief deputy. He was previously employed by the Kewanee Police Department as a patrolman from July 1976 to May 1984.   

Are there any other experiences relevant to the position you are seeking?

    I was a member of the original Board of Directors Braveheart Children’s Advocacy Center of Henry County and the P.A.C.T. (Protecting All Children Together) Advisory Board. I have been a training officer responsible for training members of the Sheriff’s Office as well as officers from other jurisdictions. I have conducted situational firearms training and forensic interview techniques to law enforcement officers and other investigators throughout Illinois and western Iowa. As a Kewanee Police Officer, I was assigned as an undercover drug agent with the Metropolitan Enforcement Group and also investigated drug cases as an investigator with the Sheriff’s Office. More importantly, I have investigated numerous child physical/sexual abuse cases and have taken child predators out of our communities. Along with the Sheriff, Jail Administrator, Assistant Jail Administrator, and Office Manager, I am involved with the preparation of the annual budget. In my current position as Chief Deputy, I assist the Sheriff with the day to day operations of the Sheriff’s office. I am the only candidate that has been assigned to every position in the Sheriff’s Office and I have held supervisory and management positions for approximately 17 years.

Why are you running?

    I am running for the Office of Sheriff of Henry County because when I first got into law enforcement I had already decided that I would like nothing more than to make this world and in particular my community a better place to live and raise a family. In 33 years, that thought has not changed, but society has and not always for the better. I believe that awareness through education is the key to turning that around and I want to be involved in that turn around. I have been in law enforcement for 33 years and have learned volumes through experience and training. I have much to offer to not only the Sheriff’s Office, but most importantly to the community. I feel that the integrity, values, and leadership that I possess and being the most trained and experienced candidate more than qualifies me for the Office of Sheriff of Henry County.

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

    I would like to improve upon services to the citizens of Henry County with a well trained and professional staff while maintaining a conservative approach to budget spending. Also, I will investigate avenues to recoup expenditures by pursuing grants or other sources of income such as inmates paying for time spent in your jail. I would like to maintain a professional working relationship with other department heads, as well as the county board and strive to improve operations of the Sheriff’s Office through proper management channels without micro managing as well as enhance employee/management relations. Also, I would like to reinstitute lost or forgotten programs such as TRIAD for our growing elderly population to help guard them against the increasing scams. Programs for our families and youth that would help defend against mounting peer pressure to become involved in the use of alcohol and drugs and the increasing incidence of domestic violence. To better protect our children from physical/sexual abuse, or to find and implement new programs that are designed to protect and educate our citizens. Officer safety is also a primary concern. Providing proper equipment through the pursuit of grants or other means to insure the safety of the deputies that keep you safe.

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

    What will be different is that the citizens of Henry County will have reaped the benefits of sound budget management through carefully planned spending, increased income and will receive better services from improved training in a more proactive approach to law enforcement. This will better educate the public on how to protect themselves against the predators that have no qualms about taking advantage of and committing crimes against our families. Improved, open and professional lines of communication with the county board as well as department heads and other public service agencies. Also, that the members of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office will be a better trained, safer and better equipped department that will be a law enforcement agency that is beyond reproach.

What do you think the sheriff’s department does right now?

    The Henry County Sheriff’s Office maintains the jail and the correctional staff is responsible for the care and safety of the inmates that are housed in the jail facility. Inmates are transported by correctional staff and patrol deputies to court, in and out of the county, and to medical appointments. The correctional staff takes desk complaint reports and makes arrests for crimes committed within the jail. Telecommunicators responsibilities include obtaining complete information to forward to the deputy assigned to the complaint so that he/she can have all pertinent information available to him so that his/her safety is insured. They are responsible for answering 911 calls almost always from someone who is emotionally distraught and give life saving instruction over the phone, while dispatching EMS and/or law enforcement and maintaining their composure while being overwhelmed. It is also their responsibility to enter stolen property and warrants, into NCIC (National Crime Information Center) and respond to an outside agency‘s request for warrant or stolen article verification, as well as follow up entries from dispatched complaints into CAD (Computer Aided Dispatching). Patrol deputies respond to requests for service, investigate traffic accidents, patrol county, state and township roads making traffic and criminal arrests. Patrol is also responsible for serving summons’, warrants, orders of protection, subpoena’s and other civil process. Also transporting inmates from the jail, mental patient’s for emergency treatment and transporting fresh and warrant arrests from other agencies. Investigators follow up on reports taken by corrections and patrol, developing suspects, recovering property that is often located some distance from Henry County. They also interview victims, as well as suspects to obtain statements or confessions, obtaining arrest warrants and testifying in court. They are also required to be on call and can be called out at any time including the middle of the night, weekends and often spending time away from families on holidays. Investigators are also called upon to assist patrol in responding to complaints, assisting corrections with inmate escorts to and from court. The office and secretarial staff prepare payroll, civil process for service, pay bills, copy reports for insurance companies, FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests and data entry of reports generated by corrections, patrol and investigations. I may have inadvertently omitted some duties required of Sheriff’s Office staff, but this is what the Sheriff’s Office does on a daily basis and often while working at minimum staff.

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

    The sheriff’s 4.6 million dollar budget is the largest of any of the county’s departments. More than half of the annual budget consists of contractual line items such as wages and associated costs. As sheriff I will be responsible for careful spending and remaining within or below budget constraints. I will continue to seek additional sources of revenue such as increasing the amount of civil process, investigating the possibility of inmates paying for their incarceration costs and any other source that would bring additional income to the county. I will carefully weigh the difference between need and want and use available funds only as necessary to meet the operational needs of the department. The Sheriff’s Office budget belongs to the tax payer and will require careful planning and frugal spending.

Hobbies or extracurricular activities?

    My family and I enjoy motorcycle riding, archery, hunting, fishing, and camping. I have also been involved in competitive shooting and racing radio controlled boats. The majority of our time is spent at my stepdaughter’s school and sport functions. We enjoy taking walks with our two rescued German Shepherds and half Jack Russell mutt who rules the roost.

    Padilla is the third of nine children who was born in Kewanee and has remained a lifelong resident of Henry County. His parents chose to stay in Kewanee to raise a family in a close knit community and he has chosen to stay in Henry County for the same reason. His father passed away two months before he was born and he lost his sister who fought a long brave battle with MS. “I have the most beautiful in every way mother and was blessed to have two wonderful children, Jimmy (26) and Haley, who was very sadly taken to a better place at the age of 16,” stated Padilla.  “After the passing of Glenda, my wife of 29 years, I was again blessed to meet someone very special. Jan and I have been married for almost two years. I have not only gained a wonderful partner, but I’ve also gained three stepchildren, Ryan (22), Rylee (20) and Jordan (12). Kalli, Chopper and Polly the mutt. Our dogs are family too.”