I was concerned to read in the Jan. 18 edition of the News-Leader that Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle sided with a large group of other Illinois county sheriffs to make a semi-confusing statement essentially announcing they have decided to not enforce portions of a recent Illinois law. VanVickle backed up his statement by saying (according to the News-Leader) that he, “believe[d] that HB 5471 is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution”, that, “we’re not going to go out and make criminals out of law-abiding citizens”, and that there will likely be “10s of millions of dollars” in tax money dedicated to the work it will entail for Illinois State Police.
To be clear, Sheriff VanVickle is an outstanding public servant – most likely one of the best in the state. I voted for him last November and I plan to again in the future. And he goes beyond his regular job to serve our community in additional volunteer roles. He is top notch. However, as sheriff he is included in the executive branch of government whose job it is to enforce laws, not interpret them. Interpretation is the job of the courts in the judicial branch of government. The new law may eventually be declared unconstitutional, but VanVickle needs to wait for that to happen, not declare it to be true because of what he and other sheriffs believe.
Additionally, of course he and his officers won’t go out and make criminals out of law abiding citizens! I sure hope not. But when a citizen does not follow the law, any law, they should either be warned or fined or arrested. That’s how law and order works in America. If police officers don’t follow the law, why should we?
Finally, if his office needs more resources because they cannot afford to enforce the laws then that is the statement he should make loud and clear. If Ogle County can’t afford the type of police force he would like to have, that is the fault of the citizens of the county and our county board, not his.
Again, I have great confidence in Sheriff VanVickle and I suspect he is in a very difficult spot. I hope he remains in his post and continues to run for sheriff because he is a great man for the job. But please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
-Kurt Wolter, Rochelle, IL