2 vie to become Douglas sheriff
TUSCOLA — The Republican primary for Douglas County sheriff features the current chief deputy sheriff against a former member of the Las Vegas Police Department.
Peter Buckley has served as chief deputy under Sheriff Charlie McGrew since Jan. 1, 2011. McGrew is retiring following three terms as sheriff.
Fred Galey served with the Las Vegas PD for 27 years before returning to Douglas County. He lost to McGrew by 39 votes in 2010.
Since nobody is on the ballot in the Democratic primary, the winner of Tuesday's primary will likely become the new sheriff, unless the Democrats decide to slate a candidate.
Buckley, 59, of Tuscola, has a bachelor's degree in law enforcement administration from Western Illinois University and a master's degree in counseling from the University of Illinois at Springfield. He also served for two years as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, followed by four years with the Illinois National Guard.
Buckley's entire law enforcement career has been with sheriff's departments and the FBI.
After working as a deputy with the McLean County sheriff's office from 1983 to 1986, Buckley was hired as a special agent for the FBI; serving in Phoenix, Chicago, the FBI Academy and the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., before completing his FBI career at the bureau's office in Champaign in 2010.
"I worked with members of the Douglas County sheriff's office on the case of a man who was defrauding the Amish community, using unapproved medical devices and practicing medicine without a license," he said. "I was so impressed with the Douglas County sheriff's office's use of modern computer systems and thorough police reports."
Buckley was nearing the FBI's retirement age, so when McGrew asked him to become Douglas County's new chief deputy, he said yes.
Buckley said he wants to build upon the work begun over the past 10 years by McGrew.
"Sheriff McGrew is a very progressive, forward-thinking individual," Buckley said. "I owe it to the men and women who work here to continue to do the job of protecting the citizens of Douglas County."
Galey, 58, graduated from Tuscola High School and studied microprecision technology at Parkland College.
He worked part-time for the Tuscola Police Department from 1977 to 1978, left them for the Douglas County sheriff's office from 1978 to 1980 and returned to the Tuscola Police Department through 1981.
Galey next moved to Nevada, where he served with the Las Vegas Police Department for 27 years, retiring in 2008.
"I decided to run for sheriff because it was something I always wanted to do," Galey said. "After I lost by 39 votes to McGrew in 2010, several people contacted me saying we needed a change. So I decided to run again this time."
Buckley said his top priority if elected would be to assist neighborhood watch programs in the county by sending out emails to citizens warning them of burglaries, mail fraud and telemarketing scams happening in their area and offering tips on how to protect themselves and their property.
"I want to tell them what we have noticed in Douglas County and help them to safeguard themselves," he said.
Buckley said he would work with the East Central Illinois Task Force to increase drug investigation work in the county and to teach young people about the hazards of drug use and the dangers of gateway drugs.
He also wants to help victims of domestic violence by asking them to fill out questionnaires called lethality assessments in which they answer questions about their experiences with their partner and determine their chances of being harmed if they remain in their relationship.
Galey said his top priority if elected would be to monitor the sheriff's office budget.
"I want to make sure all tax dollars are spent wisely," Galey said. "I will go over all the line items in the budget, and I will make sure our squad cars use E85 fuel, which is 50 cents cheaper than regular gasoline. And we can get a rebate from the state EPA for using E85 fuel."
Galey said he plans to work all shifts with the county's deputies.
"I want to see what they know and help them to do their job professionally, efficiently and safely," he said.
Galey said he plans to have an open door policy as sheriff.
"If you want to talk to the sheriff, you can talk to me," he said.