For 35 years, she’s quietly toiled in the shadow of high-powered prosecutors, helping them get justice for victims of crime in Champaign County. After working for three different elected state’s attorneys and multiple assistants, JULIE OGLE, 55, of Mahomet will retire from her supportive role on Jan. 24. She talked with staff writer Mary Schenk about her work.
What was your first assignment in the state’s attorney’s office?
I started in December 1984. I was hired as the receptionist at support enforcement. I wasn’t even 20 years old. It was very eye-opening. Why wouldn’t someone pay child support to begin with?
Describe some of the duties you’ve had.
I’ve done a little bit of everything. I was the receptionist of the main state’s attorney’s office. I worked in traffic, misdemeanors, then I logged incoming police reports, and while I was logging I also did misdemeanor victim advocate work. I loved that. I’ve done delinquencies for 25 years. I love that. I check to see if anyone is in custody, set detention hearings ... and I get everything on file, prepare everything for court.
What have you observed about juvenile crime over the years?
I have not noticed an increase. It’s the type of crime that has changed. When I started, the worst thing was an aggravated battery at school. Now it involves guns and knives. It was very rare 15 to 20 years ago that we had a juvenile who had a gun.
As senior executive secretary, you are the right-hand woman to State’s Attorney Julia Rietz. What does that involve?
I supervise 12 secretaries. I’m the first contact point for media; I’m Julia’s secretary. I have to keep her on track, keep her organized.
Tell us about your family.
Husband Ed retired as a lieutenant in investigations at the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office after 28½ years. He teaches part-time at the University of Illinois Police Training Institute. My son Kyle, 27, is a detention officer at the Juvenile Detention Center. Daughter Melisa, 31, is a high school Spanish teacher in Carbondale, and daughter Lindsey, 25, is a nurse at Carle Foundation Hospital.
Do you talk law enforcement over dinner?
I don’t. Kyle and Ed do. It is totally its own language. We had to stop talking (law enforcement) because Ed always waited until dinner time to tell me about the gory accidents.
What has been your favorite part of the job?
I enjoyed getting cases ready for trial, doing subpoenas, talking to victims and witnesses, the human contact.
Do you feel like a special-events planner?
Some days I do, because not everybody is cooperative, especially civilians and witnesses. You have to try to convince them to just come in and tell us what you know. You have to try to be their friend.
Least favorite part of the job?
I really don’t have a least favorite.
Are you able to leave the sadness associated with crime at the office?
For the most part, I can leave it at work, unless it involves small kids, then I can really relate. When you look at your children, you think, “What could a child do to make someone want to do that?”What’s your antidote to the 8 a.m.-to-4:30 p.m. grind?
Reading and the Hallmark Channel. I am getting into thriller mysteries. Don’t ask why. I just started getting into those within the last year and a half.
Do you have retirement plans?
Not yet. I’m going to take a few months off and decide what I want to do. I’d like to travel a little bit. I am not one who can sit at home and do nothing. You can only do so many projects at home.