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Accomplishments as Sheriff

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Though Dustin is only in his first term as Sheriff and continues to work hard to address some of the challenges in the community and at the Sheriff's Office, he and his leadership team have accomplished several things:

  • Closed the dilapidated downtown jail. Solidified a plan backed by the County Board to close the downtown jail and consolidate the two jail facilities, thereby providing a safer and healthier environment for both employees and inmates while allowing more efficient and effective use of space. This is a challenge that has spanned over 15 years and two Sheriffs.

  • Collaborated with the County Board and County Executive to solidify a plan to relocate the Sheriff's Office from a dilapidated and overcrowded facility to a facility more conducive to effective, efficient operations and growth to provide better service to the residents of Champaign County.

  • Faced with critical staffing issues in corrections, like many other employers and criminal justice agencies throughout the state and nationwide, took decisive action to relocate inmates from the downtown jail, a jail that has been slated to close anyway due to safety and security concerns, so that staff could be used to help reduce overall overtime and burnout in the corrections division, thereby increasing employee retention and mental health.

  • Enacted several measures to try to increase employee recruitment and retention, including offering a sign-on bonus for new correctional officers, working with the Merit Commission to consider law enforcement applicants for correctional officer positions, waiving testing fees for applicants, working with the County Board to provide COVID-19 premium pay for employees, and taking a comprehensive look at salary and benefit offerings.

  • Continues to encourage deputies to be proactive in addressing gun violence and violent crime while working with the Community Coalition and other community groups to try and prevent the violence in the first place. 

  • Put strong processes in place early in the COVID-19 pandemic to help mitigate effects on jail population and employees.

  • Appointment of a female Chief Deputy to help add a well-rounded perspective to Sheriff's Office operations.

  • Coordination with the law enforcement Union to implement 12-hour shifts to help increase retention and recruitment of professional and ethical deputies.

  • Increased training for employees, including de-escalation, use of force & implicit bias.

  • Increased use of technology to better investigate criminal activity.

  • Implementation of a mobile app for more effective communication and transparency with the public.

  • Implementation of a new Jail Management System for better efficiency and transparency.

  • Addition of a data/crime analyst position to better collect and analyze data for informed decision-making processes. 

  • Assignment of community relations deputies for increased collaboration with the community.

  • Coordination with METCAD and other local police departments to plan for integration of criminal justice processes, including dispatching and records management, for more efficient and effective operations county-wide. 

  • Helped coordinate & facilitate a community-wide response to COVID-19 through the Champaign County Emergency Operations Center.

  • Reinitiated the conversation on how to balance incarceration with community alternatives - including providing a safe and secure facility for both inmates and employees while increasing community alternatives to incarceration for those who don't pose a danger to the community and who might be better served outside of jail.

  • Upgraded body and vehicle cameras for increased transparency and quality control.

  • Updated tasers for reliable less-than-lethal options when de-escalation methods fail.

  • Helped to facilitate an integrated public safety system for increased interoperability, including jail management, CAD, and report writing.

  • Increased transparency of Sheriff's Office by publishing the first Annual Report in 16 years and enhancing reports available to the public online.

  • Collaborated with judges to suspend evictions during COVID-19 before Governor's Order was issued.

  • Continues to work with the State's Attorney and judiciary to evaluate pre-trial detainees for release while awaiting trial.

  • Continues to work with local departments for increased use of NTAs in lieu of physical arrest for nonviolent suspected offenders.

  • Initiated social worker program to help bridge the gap between the community and community resources.

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