Associates Degree, Criminal Justice, McHenry County College
Bachelors Degree, Management and Leadership, Judson University
Masters Degree, MBA - Leadership and Management, Aurora University
Law Enforcement Officer, McHenry County Sheriff's Office
Married, wife- Kimberly
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On The Record
Why are you running for county sheriff?
This is a lifelong goal. I was blessed to have been raised in McHenry, and having the benefit of playing, growing up, and going to school in a safe and secure McHenry County. Now that I have three children of my own, I want them to be able to enjoy these same blessings. I am running for Sheriff so that I may utilize the considerable assets of the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that my children, and all of the children and citizens of McHenry County have a safe place to live. In addition, as Sheriff, I will be in a position to continue to work with McHenry County’s religious and civic organizations, as well as other units of local government, school districts and the McHenry County Regional Superintendent of Schools to improve the quality of life for citizens of McHenry County. I want the job of being Sheriff, not just the title. I am not seeking a second pension or start a second career. I am committed to upholding the constitutions of the State of Illinois and of the United States, enforcing the law fairly, and working with community leaders to provide for a safe and secure McHenry County.
The sheriff's office in recent years has been beset by acrimony and a strained working relationship with the state's attorney's office. How do you plan to address this?
A professional relationship is necessary to operate effectively. I commend our staff and those in the State’s Attorney’s Office who do their jobs every day without losing focus of the community we serve. It is imperative that checks and balances are in place to insure the public is getting fair and balanced law enforcement as well as prosecution. I do not believe that being indebted to the State’s Attorney is in the best interest of anyone that wants to receive unbiased law enforcement. Ironically, the negative relationship has made us a better Office. We have been tasked to constantly evaluate, train, and improve our overall operations independently. Since 2010, the Sheriff’s Office has replaced many leadership positions. Our relationship with the county administration, department heads, and other elected offices is excellent. I have met and will continue to meet with Mr. Bianchi to insure the Sheriff’s Office is running effectively and that our staff and everyone in law enforcement is being treated fairly. Mr. Bianchi suffered public and professional humiliation after being indicted twice. I had no involvement in that case or failed prosecution. I am confident that after this election we can close that chapter in order to move forward and do what is best for the citizens of McHenry County.
What can be done to make the sheriff's office run more efficiently?
Since 2005, the Sheriff’s Office has provided over $100,000,000 dollars in cash flow to the county budget by housing federal detainees. In 2013, our Narcotics Division seized almost $1,000,000 dollars in criminal assets. All county offices have been on a maintenance budget for over 10 years. I believe we need to continue to operate the Sheriff’s Office like an independent business owner. Always watching the bottom line, and operating within our fiscal budget. Our most valued asset is our staff. We continue to evaluate job positions and assignments to combine or eliminate them when possible. I will continue our partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies. They provide funding and training assistance, as well as direct communication and networking that is valuable to keeping McHenry County safe. Acquiring over $200,000 dollars in equipment and vehicles from the Law Enforcement Sharing Office (LESO) for free, allowed us to reduce our budget expenses in 2013. Planning is the key to operating efficiently and effectively. I have numerous plans, such as to adapt 20 of our squad cars to propane fuel. Thereby reducing our fuel budget and negative environmental impact. I plan to further reduce payroll expenses by creating a multi-jurisdictional SWAT and Accident Investigation teams.
What can the sheriff's office do to be more accessible to residents?
Being accessible to residents and business owners is critical to keeping everyone safe and secure. Last year, we created a citizens police academy and invited volunteers to see and participate in the inner workings of the Sheriff’s Office. We provide tours, and encourage visitors to stop in. We host training events and leadership programs like Leadership Greater McHenry County (LGMC) to provide information and educational ideas. We also attend community events, and social service organizations to offer training and safety information. The Sheriff’s Office partnered with the Algonquin Township and opened a sub-station on Route 14 between Cary and Crystal Lake to be more visible and accessible. We are currently evaluating a second substation in the Marengo area. Since 2010, we re-designed our website www.mchenrysheriff.org where we embrace feedback and social media. We are constantly seeking new ideas and media formats such as Facebook, Twitter and Nixle to insure we have two-way communication with the public. We can always find ways to improve in this area, but nothing is better than one-to-one communication with our staff. Our communication division (911 operators) and deputies are usually our front line of communication. I encourage citizens to feel comfortable engaging with our professional and hardworking staff.
What is the most-pressing issue the sheriff's office faces?
There is a broad spectrum of issues facing the next Sheriff. It will take strong leadership and an understanding of the entire diverse population that makes McHenry County so great. This constitutional Office encompasses power and responsibilities that cannot be treated lightly. Providing and maintaining services that address quality of life issues is the key. Domestic violence, mental health, internet crime, crimes against children, crimes against the elderly and illegal narcotics are all critical issues, that need to be prioritized. Those who are incarcerated need to receive continued treatment and counseling immediately upon release from the jail. We need to remain strong and constantly evaluate crime statistics, and work with our partners: the DEA, FBI, US Marshals, Illinois State Police, local police agencies and schools. Also, the many other community service organizations and counseling centers whom provide care and treatment.
How would you differentiate yourself from your opponent?
Experience, Education, Leadership and Respect. I started my career in law enforcement at 18 years old, and after working in smaller municipal police departments, was hired by the Sheriff’s Office. During my 25 year career in the Sheriff’s Office, I have worked as a patrol deputy, K9 handler, detective, sergeant, lieutenant in charge of detectives, and now for the last 3 years Undersheriff. I spent this time learning, advancing and working with the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office and local police agencies. I will not need to learn about the County or about the Sheriff’s Office. I have lived it, all of my adult life. I am committed to maintaining the highest professional standards. Our Office was recently awarded the “Triple Crown” Award from the National Sheriff’s Association. We are the only Sheriff’s Office in Illinois to obtain this prestigious award in 2013, and only one of 35 in the entire nation. However, I do not believe that my past service is the only reason that I would make a better Sheriff than my opponent. To see the unedited (length) version of this document and learn more please visit my website www.zinkeforsheriff.org