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Simonton announces candidacy for Lee County Sheriff in 2014 election

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 11th, 2013

John Simonton

LEE COUNTY — Recently, John Simonton announced his candidacy for Lee County Sheriff on Aug. 30. In his statement he said, “I am blessed to have so many family members, citizens and friends of Lee County here to support me today. My wife, Carrie and I thank you for being here. Today, I announce my candidacy for the Office of Lee County Sheriff, in the Primary Election for this position in 2014.”

He has spent more than 30 years in the Law Enforcement profession. He began his career as a Deputy Sheriff for the Boone County Sheriffs Department in 1982, graduating from the Law Enforcement Academy, and working as a Deputy, gaining experience in traffic and criminal law, as well as civil service process and jail duties.

Two years later, he was selected to attend the Illinois State Police academy, graduating in 1984, receiving the Supervisors Award of excellence in academics, fitness, range and motivational inspiration.

He spent the majority of his career with the Illinois State Police and has resided throughout Lee County the entire time. He and his wife have raised two children here.

He was promoted to Sergeant early on in his career and had the experience of supervising many veterans, 10-15 years older than himself. In the mid-90s he was promoted to Master Sergeant. His career took a much different direction at this time; one that he believes has changed him personally and professionally.

“My advancements took me to a full-time SWAT team leader position in charge of combating the higher risk warrants and activities that accompany law enforcement in a day to day process. I served in a vital role with SWAT to help reduce the likelihood of injury to officers and agents not trained in tactical response, as well as guarding the safety of the various communities,” said Simonton

He eventually became the Operations Lieutenant, then Commander of this SWAT unit prior to retirement in 2010.He considers himself fortunate to have directed and worked with very capable officers in more than1,500 missions, including hostage-rescue, armed barricaded subjects, high risk prisoner transport, high risk search warrants, civil unrest, natural disasters, WMD response and waterborne operations.

He was also able to work closely and exchange training with members of the military, such as the U.S. Navy Seals, Delta and U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

During his tenure with the Special Operations Command, he managed two budgets with a variety of cost centers – one federal and one state. The federal budget was in the form of a grant extended indefinitely to support our Terrorism initiative, monitored by the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. They were able to acquire more than 14 million dollars of inventory from this grant as well as budget each cost center, while predicting equipment, maintenance and replacement costs 3-4 years in advance.

The state budget consisted of equipping and maintaining our SWAT and Technical Investigative Unit, to include additional training, travel, salaries and overtime.

He is currently in the third phase of his Law Enforcement career with the Dixon Police Department. “I was very fortunate to receive a call from Chief Langloss just three months after I retired. My duties with Dixon PD include working in patrol, as a trainer and tactical consultant to the Chief,” said Simonton.

He has noticed in the past several years that there is a distinct and clear need for change in the Lee County Sheriff’s Department. Professional Leadership, Executive Level Teamwork, and a Community Service Mindset from the Command Staff in the Lee County Sheriff’s Department is missing and must be restored. The current leadership has drawn clear lines in the sand that no one should dare cross. Over the past several months, he has been approached by many of the men and women who serve as deputies, correctional officers and dispatchers, all expressing the need for change.

“My campaign will be based upon three principles – Leadership, Experience and Professionalism,” proclaims Simonton.

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