Looking toward a brighter future for all of us, Debra Schrishuhn for Alan, Mike F, Janis, Mike H, Dan, Shayna, Dr Bill, Kimberly, and Bryan—your PDA National Team
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) believes that transformative changes start at the grassroots and work their way into national policy. We know that elections matter. Example:
Champaign County in East Central Illinois elected Republicans as County Sheriff since 1934. Citizens had become increasingly concerned over police militarization, deteriorating jail conditions, racial profiling, cooperation between the Sheriff’s Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and fraught relations between law enforcement and communities.
That situation changed on November 6, 2018 when voters across the county—both urban and rural—overwhelmingly rejected the Republican candidate, who had long been the retiring sheriff’s chief deputy. They elected Democrat Dustin Heuerman, a gay man married to a health care professional with family ties to the Latino community. Sheriff Heuerman earned a Master’s Degree in Criminology, and has experience both as a law enforcement officer and as a Community College instructor.
Sheriff Heuerman recently attended the regular meeting of our Central Illinois PDA Chapter. We are excited and proud to work with progressives like Sheriff Heuerman at the local level to reclaim the ideals of American justice.
In the seven months since he took office, Sheriff Heuerman has ended his department’s voluntary cooperation with ICE, actively works with local mental health providers and the judicial system reducing incarceration to those who pose a flight risk or are violent offenders, and is seeking ways to bolster both officer morale and community engagement and trust.
The Sheriff looks for open-mindedness, well developed communication skills, and diversity in new officers. He readily engages with concerned community members and organizations. He seeks to make his department transparent and responsive to the community.