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McHenry County Sheriff (Republican): Zinke

Published: Sunday, March 2, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, March 2, 2014 7:55 a.m. CDT

In a contentious race to replace outgoing McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren, Undersheriff Andrew Zinke and retired Des Plaines Police Cmdr. Bill Prim are vying for the Republican nomination in the March 18 primary.

Prim, who lives in Cary, is a 27-year veteran police officer who spent much of his career in investigations – focusing much of those efforts on drugs and asset forfeitures. He’s running for sheriff to bring a new identity to the office based on accountability, improved community relations and an emphasis on tapping volunteer enthusiasm.

He says the sheriff’s office spends too much money in administrative costs, and he has vowed to eliminate administrative positions if elected. He does not support a reduction of rank-and-file staff.

Zinke, who lives in Woodstock, has worked in the sheriff’s office for 25 years – the past three as undersheriff. He has worked as a patrol deputy, a K-9 handler, a detective, a sergeant and lieutenant in charge of detectives. He’s running for sheriff to help ensure the children and citizens of McHenry County have a safe place to live.

He says the sheriff’s office needs to continue to operate like an independent business, and he will evaluate job positions and assignments to combine or eliminate them when possible.

Prim has the support of McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi and believes that he can walk in and repair the highly publicized, strained relationship between the sheriff’s office and the state’s attorney’s office.

Zinke feels similarly. He says the rift is between Bianchi and Nygren and is confident the two offices can move forward.

Repairing that relationship will be important moving forward. This race also comes down to which candidate is better prepared to run a more modern law enforcement agency, understanding the ins and outs of the office, where it needs to go and how to navigate the bureaucracy to get things done.

The safety and well-being of McHenry County residents is a priority, and it is important for the sheriff’s office to operate at a nationally acclaimed level, which it has with Zinke as the department’s second-highest ranking officer.

We endorse Zinke.

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