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Candidates Forum (Alex M. Arauza)

Bureau County Sheriff — Republican candidate

Age: 40

Residence: Princeton

Education: Two years of junior college, certificate in Bibilical Studies from Prairie Bible College and graduated from the University of Illinois Police Training Institute.

Experience: I have 12 years of experience as a sworn officer in Bureau County. I have worked for the Princeton Police Department for 10 years and the village of Buda as a part-time officer for two years. I am a member of the Illinois Valley Special Response Team, having received training in special weapons and tactics (S.W.A.T). I am serving in an appointed position as the School Resource Officer, after receiving my training through the National Association of School Resource Officers. My experience includes administration of a behavior modification program as an adolescent treatment professional at the former Covenant Children’s Home.

What are your top three priorities:

1. My first priority is schools. I believe that schools are the front line on the war on drugs and the social issues that we face in our communities. Building strong relationships with the youth in our communities will enable them to make the transition into responsible adulthood. I will appoint a school liaison officer, who will be the contact person for the schools. To effectively keep our youth safe, the liaison officer will be knowledgeable on all the issues facing our youth, pro-actively studying trends and social issues, and will have a firm grasp on the dangers and the use of technology. A police department that reaches out to show youth they care will have an impact far into the future.

2. My second priority is the jail facility. I believe a new jail, built on the current site, using property already purchased by the county is the answer. I suggest accomplishing this through a phased approach. Phase 1 would be to build housing for inmates and a safe working environment for the jailers. The second phase would be the demolition and removal of the old jail building. The third and final phase would be to build administrative offices. I believe a phased approach would ease the burden on taxpayers and allow a seamless transition into a new facility. As sheriff I will revisit the options for building on the current site before considering off site building plans.

3. My third priority is combatting drugs. The drug problem needs to be fought on several fronts. The first front is prevention, which begins in our schools and homes. The second front is enforcement. A message that you can’t buy drugs here will be sent by using the drug task force, serving search warrants with the Special Response Team (SRT) and directing street patrols to known drug areas. The third front is addressing the drug problem with a community approach. I have been a coalition member of Community Partners Against Substance Abuse (CPASA) and have seen the power of individuals in communities partnering together to reach out and make a difference. I would like to set up a counseling and rehabilitation fund for families who are seeking help with a drug addicted family member or friend. Caring begins by meeting families where they are and helping them take the next step.

How would you describe yourself to voters: I am a conservative Christian man with traditional family values. Strong families are key to a healthy community. I am impartial and will make sure policies/procedures are followed. I have a strong sense of justice and will defend those who are wronged. I care about you and what is best for the community. I will listen to you and go the extra mile to make sure your needs are met. I understand the sheriff is much like the sheepdog of the county, who keeps the wolves away and keeps the sheep from going astray. I do not think the role of law enforcement is merely to make an arrest. By reaching out and getting involved, we can prevent crime/drug addictions before they become a problem. I am asking that you trust me to lead Bureau County into the future; I promise I will be faithful to the work I am called to.

Why should voters cast their votes for you?: Voters should vote for me because I have a vision for Bureau County that will lead us into the future. I have practical well thought out plans that will lead the sheriff’s department in a positive direction. There is no other candidate who can match my training, knowledge and experience when it comes to knowing our youth. I want to see the sheriff’s department live up to its fullest potential. My integrity will prompt me to stand up and address the issues facing Bureau County and provide practical solutions. I am running for Bureau County Sheriff because I care about the deputies, I care about my neighbors and I care about the direction Bureau County is heading. I invite you to follow me into the next four years by voting for Alex Arauza.

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