Race for Stephenson County sheriff's position

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STEPHENSON COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) -- Residents in Stephenson County will decide to re-elect the incumbent sheriff or bring in a new top cop on March 20.

With the primary election just a week away, the race for the Stephenson County sheriff's position is down to the wire. One of the most talked about topics at the moment seems to be the budget.

Steve Schaible, the chief of the Lena Police Department, is challenging incumbent sheriff Dave Snyders.

"I've never been over budget, I always stay within budget. It's time for a change in Stephenson County, we need new ideas. We need to keep putting in for grants year after year. If we don't get them, we need to keep trying to get as much money coming back to our county as we can," said Schaible.

One of those new ideas is the consolidation of the 911 call center. Schaible says he's all for it as long as services go uninterrupted, but Snyders says this should not be a new chapter the county's history.

"Consolidation would not save money. The police chief and I are under agreement that this is not feasible at this time. This has been addressed four times and has just recently been brought up again," said Snyders.

Another issue the two seem to differ on is how to deal with the opioid crisis. Schaible says an additional deputy on the drug task force would be beneficial but Snyders says he's working with the Freeport Health Network to fight the underlying cause.

"I've asked for additional manpower for the last several budget cycles, that funding has been turned down," added Snyders.

Snyders and Schaible both agree that the sheriff's department is currently understaffed, but their differences come in dealing with the issue.

Schaible says taking some of the funds from overtime pay could be used to hire additional deputies. Snyders says the department has been in an ongoing hiring mode to get qualified applicants to fill vacant positions.