McDonough County’s Law & Legal Committee

This is interesting. Though there’s been a reporter paid to cover this committee for well over a decade, nobody apparently ever questioned who has oversight of the Sheriff, Sheriff’s Department, and McDonough Jail.

As it turns out, apparently nobody:

“McDonough County Sheriff Nick Petitgout told The Voice that he does not believe that the county board has oversight authority over his department. The board passes his department budget annually, he said, but he believes that only the voters have oversight with elected officials like himself.”

“Furthermore, Petitgout said that Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Adam Cremer, who often attends committee meetings, does so as a courtesy to the county board.”


“When asked where members of the public with complaints about the Sheriff’s office or jail can go with their concerns, Erlandson referenced the Sheriff’s office, the State’s Attorney, and the Illinois State Police.

Committee member Mike Kirby said that the sheriff’s department has yet to share a copy of the complaint procedure. He said that they agreed to do so during their December meeting.

Kirby told the Voice that Republicans on the board seem to have no desire to exercise any oversight of county resources in the sheriff’s department. Additionally, State’s Attorney Matt Kwacala won’t pursue any allegations of misconduct by the sheriff’s department, Kirby said.

Kwacala confirmed to The Voice that there won’t be an investigation into the sheriff’s department. He also said that he’s never received a complaint on the matter. Regarding oversight, the Law & Legal Committee doesn’t have the authority to investigate criminal complaints, he said.

As for the belief that allegations against the sheriff should only be pursued in the courts, Kirby said that he doesn’t necessarily disagree. He said, “Our committee is certainly not meant to be a court of law.”

“So if the voters are the only ones who provide oversight to the sheriff’s department, then it makes sense to the sheriff and the Republican members of our local establishment that those voters get as little information as possible about alleged human rights violations in our local jails and elsewhere,” Kirby said.

The January meeting agenda released to media outlets indicated that the committee would be meeting by Zoom as well as in-person. However, the February agenda sent to the media did not provide any Zoom meeting details. When asked Friday why the Zoom meeting was cancelled, Erlandson said the decision was made to move all County meetings to in-person only. He said he assumed this was due to lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions.”


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