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About Sheriff Dustin

Dustin was elected as Champaign County Sheriff in 2018 and is the county's first Democratic Sheriff since the 1930's. He is also one of five openly-LGBTQ Sheriffs in the United States.

 

Though he grew up in rural Effingham County, Dustin has lived in Champaign County with his husband, Tony, a registered nurse at Carle Foundation Hospital, since 2008. Dustin & Tony have three dogs: Roja, Junior and Zoey.

BACKGROUND

Dustin has over 23 years of experience in public safety and community service. He has served as a private security officer, 911 Telecommunicator, EMT, plain-clothes narcotics officer, deputy sheriff, Chief of Police and criminal justice professor. Dustin is the only Sheriff candidate with experience as Champaign County Sheriff, which includes leadership experience in all components of being Sheriff - law enforcement, modern day corrections, Courthouse security & emergency management. 

EDUCATION

  • Doctorate degree in Leadership, Ferris State University

  • Master's degree in Criminology, Indiana State University

  • Bachelor's degree in Criminology, Indiana State University

  • Associate degree in Criminal Justice, Lake Land College

  • Certificate in Management, Lake Land College

"Victory over Violence: Getting to Know the Man Behind the Badge"

My Story

When I was elected in 2018, it was unexpected - even for me. I was the underdog in the election, being an outsider running against a 27-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office. I ended up winning by approximately 7,000 votes. Some people think this was just a fluke sparked by a “blue wave,” but the more I talk to people the more I’m convinced it wasn’t – I believe many people voted for me because they saw my potential to successfully lead the Sheriff's Office and criminal justice system into the future.

 

Once elected, some people expected me to fail – well at least the ones who really didn’t want to give me a fair chance from the beginning. Even today it is not uncommon to have someone throw out a comment that has no justification or backing just to see if anyone will listen – some do, but I believe the majority of people don't "listen" to just words, and I appreciate that. If I was by myself, I think I would have failed just as anyone entering a new job would fail. Turns out that I wasn’t by myself. I had (and have) a strong leadership team beside me at the Sheriff’s Office that is willing to work together to accomplish goals that create a safer county for us all. 

 

If I’m being honest, there have been times since I’ve been elected where I’ve thought about not running again. This job is tough! There are also days I feel I could do this for the rest of my life! I struggled when I first got elected because I wanted to make everyone happy with my decisions. I hate disappointing people. For anyone who has been in a position like mine you realize that is impossible. For every person you make happy with a decision, another is mad – and in today’s social media world, they don’t mind telling you that! I’ve found that sometimes people don’t know all the facts, and some just don’t care. That can be frustrating! 

 

Then, a fellow elected official with a lot more experience than me gave me some advice. She said, “Dustin, just be Sheriff.” It took me a while, but I get it now. I strive to make the right decisions for the right reasons based on the information I have. My husband and I spoke, and we decided that if putting this decision-making mentality over "politics" costs me the election then I really don’t want to be in the position anyway. 

 

So, here’s what you’ll get from me, and I hope I’ve proven it to you during my first term.

 

I will make the right decisions for the right reasons based on the information I have. I will make decisions with the best interests of Champaign County and its residents in mind. I don’t always expect to make 200,000+ people, all with their own opinions, happy. If I don't agree with you, I promise to always be willing to respectfully disagree and talk about how to move forward. I expect the same from you.

 

My goal is to make Champaign County better for everyone in it. I hope you will support me in my re-election if this is your goal, too.