PREVIEW: Stephenson County Sheriff Race

By: Jorge Rodas
By: Jorge Rodas
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STEPHENSON COUNTY (WIFR) – Some familiar names are facing off in this month’s primaries in the race for Stephenson County Sheriff. Incumbent David Snyders hopes to be reelected for a fourth time while Tim Clay hopes to build on last election’s defeat and take over the county title.

Snyders says he’s had to make some cuts in the last 4 years, laying off some deputies staff, also cutting back on spending, all while trying to provide the same level of safety to the public. Snyders says overall crime isn’t too bad in the county, but Clay says it’s time for a new direction in leadership. Snyders says he’s been Sheriff a long time and feels he’s the most qualified to lead the department.

“To adequately do your job you have to have knowledge of what is transpiring in the law enforcement world to today. You have to have the experience you have to have the training," said Sheriff Snyders.

"Whoever becomes Sheriff, the Sheriff's Association of Illinois holds a conference... I think it's a week long, down in Springfield to bring you up to speed on the laws and what you can and what you can't do. So there's going to be training in that area. It's not like I'm going to walk into it completely blind with no experience whatsoever,” said Tim Clay.
Another issue both men seem to differ on is what to do with the County Jail. Snyders wants to increase population and raise county revenue by housing federal inmates after not doing so for years. Clay says it’s a bad idea.

“It’s a benefit for the county just for having those inmates in our facility, we do have the room for them at our jail,” said Snyders.

“Why he’d reactivate that either says the decision he made previously was a poor decision or this is just a way to raise some revenue and it’s really not going to be as good of a way to raise revenue and solve our problems,” said Clay.

Clay lost in the 2010 general election to Snyders while running as an independent. This year, Clay is running as a Republican which is why the two will face off in the primary. Snyders has been Sheriff in Stephenson County for the past 16 years. Before that, he was a Freeport police officer.

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