LEE COUNTY —Lee County Sheriff John R. Varga announced Sept. 24 that he will seek reelection to the office of Sheriff in 2014.
Varga, who was first elected to the office in 2006, has implemented many positive changes within the department over the past seven years and believes he has built a solid foundation with which to build upon the future.
Varga vows to remain responsive to citizens’ needs and concerns by offering an open administration and an atmosphere of cooperation.
“These past seven years have been challenging, but extremely rewarding. I’m committed to serving the citizens to the best of my ability and I will continue to do so,” stated the Sheriff.
Under the Sheriff’s direction, the department has continued its long-standing tradition of providing fair, competent and efficient services to the citizens of the county by hiring, training, and maintaining exemplary employees in all of the offices’ seven divisions. Those divisions include patrol services, corrections, communications, investigations, civil process, court security, and administrative services.
Since taking office, Sheriff Varga has greatly increased training opportunities for deputies, correctional officers, telecommunicators, and court security personnel. He has also seen to it that much needed equipment has been purchased over the years, which enables the department to work independently and not have to rely on outside agencies to provide services.
One of the first tasks that were undertaken early in Varga’s first term was to replace an obsolete radio system, originally purchased in the mid-1980s, with a state-of-the-art digital system. The digital radio system has enhanced reliable communications and in doing so has afforded greater officer safety. Since the implementation of the digital system, the Amboy Police Department, Franklin Grove Police Department and Ashton Police Department have been invited to join the Sheriff’s radio group and they too now enjoy greater communications capabilities.
Another concern was addressed in the area of court security when a video arraignment system was installed at the Lee County jail which eliminated the need to continually move inmates between the jail and courts building.
Additionally, court security personnel have received ongoing, specialized training during the Sheriff’s tenure ensuring increased security for citizens, courts building staff and inmates alike.
The department has strengthened cooperative relationships with the other law enforcement agencies in Lee County over the years, assisting area police agencies with several serious, high profile cases, including two recent homicide investigations. Sheriff Varga will continue to offer this assistance in coming years, providing the smaller municipalities with investigative expertise, assets, equipment and advice.
The Sheriff’s Department provides contracted police services to the Village of Paw Paw. This beneficial agreement has served that community well over the years and Varga believes the arrangement will continue.
The Sheriff has also seen a critically important relationship develop between members of the Lee County Board and his office over the past seven years, which ultimately benefits the people of Lee County. Varga believes this rapport is crucial for the department to meet the challenges that face the county in the future.
Varga is a member of the Lee County United Way Board, The Knights of Columbus, The Northern Illinois Sheriff’s Association, the “Fight Crime, Invest in Kids” of Illinois. He has served as Chairman of the State Agency/ Law Enforcement Liaison committee for the Illinois Sheriff’s Association, was a member of the Communications Committee for the Illinois Sheriff’s Association, served as Chairman for the Jail Standards Re-Write Committee for the Illinois Sheriff’s Association, is a current member of the Le County Safety Committee, the Lee County Emergency Preparedness Council and the Lee/Ogle Local Emergency Planning Committee.
Varga is a life-long resident of Lee County. He is married to Amy and together they have two children, Hunter, 16, and Haley, 14.