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Who polices the police?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Who polices the police?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 13, 2012

Or should I ask, who deputes the deputies? One in particular. The big one.

When Sheriff Nygren got his speeding ticket in Vilas County, Wisc. back in January, he was driving a white Chevy Tahoe with Illinois license plate 196 3705. Is this a privately-owned vehicle or is it owned and maintained by McHenry County?

If it's a privately-owned vehicle, then Sheriff Nygren can drive it anywhere he wants at any time (of course). And he can buy gas for it with his personal credit card anywhere, at any time.

Where does he get his gas? At the County fuel pump on Russel Court? Tax-free? For all his personal and vacation and out-of-state travel, is he allowed to use tax-free fuel? I don't think so!

But maybe it's a County vehicle. Then he can get his tax-free fuel there and drive the vehicle on County business. But, for a Sheriff, an administrator, does he really need a county car, with all the bells, whistles and (so I hear) heated leather seats?

And if it's a County- (taxpayer-) supported vehicle, what was Keith doing with it in Vilas County, Wisc., just a few miles away from his Minocqua, Wisc., $450,000 (at one time) home? On January 5, 2012? Was he investigating a crime? Not likely. More likely, just on an extended Christmas holiday vacation.

So, why the Tahoe? Why 300 miles from the Sheriff's Department headquarters? Why out-of-state? Why isn't the County Board up in arms over this? Where is the McHenry County Auditor? Is there even an Auditor?

The Mission of the Auditor can be found on the County's website:

"It is the mission of the McHenry County Auditor's Office to provide quality, cost-effective fiscal services to the citizens of the County through the functions of financial reporting and record keeping and also through a continuous auditing program. These two processes are designed to assist all members of the County Board, Elected Officials and Department Directors in their duties by providing them with accurate and meaningful information concerning the financial condition, policies, procedures, controls and performance measurement of the county."

The name of the Auditor is harder to find. In fact, it's not on the Auditor's website at all. Hmmm.... Psst... It's Pam Palmer, but you have to go to a different County webpage to find that, and this is where you find it: http://www.co.mchenry.il.us/yearbook/Pages/CountyOffices.aspx

"...continuous auditing function..." When do you think was the last time that Pam Palmer audited Nygren on his fuel usage??? Ever? Wasn't she the one who was worried about the State Attorney's buying some candy to toss to kids during parades?

Which brings up a whole, new question.

On that page are the names of the County's elected officials and their office telephone numbers. But why in the world would the city/town of their residence be listed?

Oh, look. Keith Nygren lives in Hebron. Wrong... Maybe in Crystal Lake... I guess they'd better not put Minocqua (Wisconsin) or Cape Coral (Fla.) for his residence.

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