Gary Caruana Endorsed by Rock River Times!

The Rock River Times is endorsing Gary Caruana for Winnebago County Sheriff! Here is a portion of that article where all of the candidates were evaluated. The original article can be found here on the Rock River Times website.


By Frank Schier
Editor & Publisher
and Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

March 12, 2014 – Rock River Times Article


Gary Caruana

Frank Pobjecky

A military veteran, Pobjecky is the off-duty Winnebago County deputy who shot four armed robbers at Maria’s Pizza in 2011. One of the suspects, 16-year-old Michael Sago, was killed in the shooting. Pobjecky was found to be justified in his use of deadly force. While a very competent deputy and a brave and admirable man, Pobjecky represents the Dick Meyers’ administration and lacks experience to lead a regional police department. He has great potential, and we hope he progresses in his career.

Although Caruana hasn’t been a police officer since the 1980s, his administration skills exceed the qualifications to run the office of sheriff. His impressive 26-year stint as manager of security for UPS across the entire state of Illinois included relationships with the FBI, FAA, DEA, TSA and the United States Secret Service. Caruana also maintained working relationships with the Illinois State Police, ATF and local police agencies. He has promised to end nepotism in the Sheriff’s Department. He wants to change the merit commission and diversify command staff. Caruana is consummate professional. Your vote for Caruana is so important to disarm the unwieldy negativism that would continue in the sheriff’s department if we have another representative of Gasparini and Meyers’ holding that powerful office. The morale under the cloud of favoritism is horrible. Vote for Caruana.


Randall L. Olson

Robert (Bob) Redmond

Jeffrey S. Schroeder

Glenn A. Heidenreich

Robert C. (Bob) Springer

In this closely-watched and most-important local race, the Democratic bid for Winnebago County Sheriff boasts candidates with many levels of experience and many stains from each end of the spectrum. For too many years, former Sheriff Donnie Gasparini has held sway over that office, spinning off very questionable deer hunting practices (automatic weapons) and real estate “practices” with the county. His son, Donnie, Jr., is a deputy chief, just as Scott Meyers, Sheriff Dick Meyer’s son, is a also deputy chief. They’ve both been promoted to the same rank on the same day – every time – from sergeant, lieutenant and deputy chief! Can you say, “arrogance” and “nepotism”? These political dynasties must come to an end. Anyone beholden to Gasparini or Meyers is a “No” vote here. Meyers’ kingdom, known as the over-blown “Criminal Justice Center” has created a criminal justice industrial complex downtown that needs to be downsized, and it has not reduced crime. The cracking concrete edifice is a negative for River District and real economic development downtown.

The worst of the worst, Dandy Randy Olson is not a Democrat, no matter what he says. He is one of the oldest insider players in the Republican party since elephants were born. His running as a Democrat is a sham! No self-party-respecting Democrat should ever vote for him, and if they do, they should turn in their party card. His candidacy makes party politics the true joke they are. Be laughed at by every Republican in the county, you supposed Democrats and go donkey-faced first with a vote for the phony-Dem Dandy Randy Olson. He’ll be sure to kick you in the donkey. By the way, you can be sure he is asking every Republican friend he has to pull a Democratic primary ballot, “just this once,” so the Dandy can win. Unfortunately, he’s pulling first-ballot position. Olson is a deputy commander with the Air-One Emergency Response Coalition, the helicopters out at the airport that assist police agencies and fly too low over the city. He served as a Pecatonica police officer in the late ’70s and was an auxiliary officer with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department from 1975 to 1998. He’s always wanted to be a real sheriff. Olson ran as the Republican he is when he unsuccessfully challenged Dick Meyers for sheriff in 1998. He was a Republican Winnebago County Board Member for many years. While he’s been successful in his father’s business, his attempts to buy a seat at the county political table have been marred by blunders and shaky alliances. Olson was demoted from his forest preserve presidency post to a regular board member after he created the position of public safety and risk management officer and tapped his Roscoe Police Officer Theresa Rawaillot for the job in a police force that may have only existed on paper. Rawaillot served under Olson on the Law Enforcement Aviation Coalition. Olson was also at the center of controversy in 2011, when the forest preserve purchased 18 acres of swampland from his longtime-friend, former Sheriff Donnie Gasparini, for $216,500. Olson also attempted to back-door an increase of up to 150 percent of the current WCFPD tax rate until the effort was thwarted by Illinois Rep. Chuck Jefferson, D-Rockford, in 2012.

Another candidate reportedly too close to Don Gasparini, Redmond, began his career in 1977 as a dispatcher for the Rockford Police Department and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Police Department. He became a Rockford Police patrol officer in 1985. During his career, Redmond worked as a training officer, gang and violent crime investigator, hostage negotiator. He also supervised the Youth/Sex Crimes and Auto Theft units before he retired as a sergeant in 2008. To quote a column by Paul Gorski: “Redmond has voted in Republican primaries as recently as 2012 and was the campaign committee chairman for Republican Glen Weber’s race for state’s attorney against Democrat Joe Bruscato. Redmond is listed as “Chairperson” of this committee at the Illinois State Board of Elections website: That all makes for pretty strong Republican credentials. Yes, folks, I think he’s really a Republican, not a Democrat. With political good-ol-boy Jim Hughes, who works for the Republicans and he used to be a Democrat (a very good buddy of Donnie’s), working on his campaign, he’s a no go.

More of a Democrat than any of the other candidates, Schroeder said he will only seek one term. Since announcing his candidacy last November, the 36-year veteran of the sheriff’s department has claimed internal issues are to blame for the county’s high crime rate. Schroeder wants to hire more deputies on the streets and inside the jail. Schroeder retired as a senior sergeant Oct. 29, 2013. I like him.

A former Navy Seal, Heidenreich has been with the sheriff’s department for more than 20 years. A sergeant, Heidenreich is also a member of SWAT and serves as the department facility security director. We do not need any further militarization of our law enforcement agencies.

Sheriff Dick Meyers backs Robert C. (Bob) Springer, a 30-year veteran of the department. He began his career as a corrections officer and retired as deputy chief under Meyers. Springer has administrative experience, marked by working as commander and trainer for the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS). Under Springer, the ILEAS was one of the first responders to Hurricane Katrina and continues to work area law enforcement agencies and maintains strong regional police and community ties. Nominating Springer, however, would be putting a rubber stamp on the current, impotent department and continuing the Gasparini and Meyers political dynasties, marked by over-taxation, questionable deals and nepotism.

This is the most important race out of all the local elections. Please vote for a true Democrat and someone who might actually be a sheriff for the people of Winnebago County, not special interests or special families. Vote for Schroeder. He’s the underdog. Encourage all your friends to volunteer and vote for him and give him as many campaign contributions as you can. Schroeder is your man; the big-money boys don’t like him; if you have any doubt about that, Sunil Puri contributed $5,000 to Springer’s campaign. Schroeder has to fight against that powerful money and connections. Help him any way you can. Real Democrats, stand up for your man! Vote for Schroeder.

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