WOODSTOCK – Bill Prim was sworn in Monday as McHenry County sheriff, becoming the first new sheriff in more than a decade.
His first order of business?
"Where's the coffee?" Prim joked as he entered a reception in his honor.
"I'm excited. It's a new day, and we'll take the challenges of the day as they come," the sheriff later told the large gathering. "… I could not be happier, I could not be more proud than to be here in this moment."
Prim greeted the group then, one by one, shook the hands of the deputies who now call him "boss."
Prim introduced his three-person management team, which includes some heavy hitters from the Chicago-area law enforcement community.
Sandra Fay Salgado, who also is chairwoman of the McHenry County Republican Party, was tapped to serve as the office's business manager. She held a similar position with the Lake County Sheriff's Office.
Ricardo Pagán will head police operations. Pagán comes to McHenry County from the FBI's Chicago field office.
"He's a great guy and he understands police work from the ground up," Prim said.
David Devane comes from administrative positions within the Cook County Sheriff's Office. There, he handled major reorganizations, Prim said. Devane will lead the general officewide administration and the jail.
Prim's leadership team does not included an undersheriff. Undersheriff Andy Zinke resigned effective Monday, taking a position at an area law enforcement agency.
The cornerstone of Prim's 26-month campaign for the office was the oft-touted volunteer program. His son, 19-year-old Hank Prim, was brought in – as a volunteer himself – to coordinate those efforts. Hank Prim attends school at Hillsdale College in Michigan, but he will work remotely with the sheriff's office community relations deputies.
The program will begin immediately, Bill Prim said. It will bring in volunteers to help with non-enforcement related police work, such as security at special events.
"It will not supplant our law enforcement, but supplement what we already have in place," Hank Prim said.
Bill Prim took the oath of office, administered by McHenry County Chief Judge Michael Sullivan.
Supporters from the community, other area departments, his own office, State's Attorney Lou Bianchi and employees of that office attended the standing-room only ceremony.
Prim inherits the office from longtime sheriff Keith Nygren, whose bitter relations with Bianchi were no secret. Bianchi supported Prim through the campaign. Prim scored election victories over Zinke, who was Nygren's preferred candidate in a Republican primary election, followed by a win over independent candidate Jim Harrison in November.
"With change comes new energy, new focus," Bianchi said at Prim's reception. "… We'll have a friendly, more amicable relationship together. That will make the office more efficient."