Meet John Doe: Seven candidates for Winnebago County sheriff — ask your questions now!

By Paul Gorski

Seven people are seeking either the Democratic or Republican party nomination for Winnebago County sheriff this March 18. Five people are running on the Democratic ballot, and two are running as Republicans. More than two Republicans are actually on the ballot, but I’ll get to that later. The winners of the March primary election will face off this November. Take a moment and rejoice knowing you have a choice in candidates.

What I like most about this election is that there is no heir apparent. No one is leaving early; no successor is being appointed. Thank you to retiring Sheriff Richard A. Meyers. We’re having a good old election where your vote counts.

I’ve seen signs near my neighborhood for Republicans Gary Caruana and Frank Pobjecky. They don’t appear to be afraid to run as Republicans for a supposedly “Democratic” office, as Randy Olson claims it to be. Republican Olson is running as a Democrat because he thinks that is his best route to winning the election. I would think experience means more to voters.

When it comes to the range of experience the candidates have, there’s no wider variation in candidate experience than on the Democratic primary ticket. I served with Randy Olson on the county board, and he always treated me fairly, cordially, much more so than some others on the board. However, Olson’s law enforcement experience seems a little thin compared to others on the ballot. Olson simply hasn’t served in a law enforcement role as long or with as much depth as some of the other candidates.

Then, there’s Democrat Robert (Bob) Springer, whom I also saw at the county board meetings. Springer is a retired deputy chief with the Sheriff’s Department who supervised the security of the board meetings when I was on the board. Springer has more than 30 years of Winnebago County corrections and law enforcement experience. In that time, he rose steadily in rank and held numerous command and leadership roles.

I remember Springer as a pleasant, patient guy, who used to have to nudge me out of county board chambers after our meetings, as I had a tendency to chat with residents in the gallery after the meetings. He’s soft spoken and doesn’t come across as a politician to me, which is refreshing.

Then, the Democrats also have Jeffrey Schroeder, Bob Redmond and Glenn Heidenreich, all with a bit more experience than Olson. Again, rejoice in choice.

I strongly suggest you contact the candidates and speak to them about the issues that are most important to you. I’d ask them how their experience prepares them for what is seen as one of the most important elected positions in the county. Take advantage of this opportunity. It isn’t often you have such a wide variety of candidates from which to choose.

Contact the Winnebago County Clerk’s Office for a list of candidates and their home addresses, or visit to download the complete list of March 18, 2014, primary candidates.

Paul Gorski ( is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper. Read “Tech-Friendly” at:

From the Feb. 12-18, 2014, issue

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