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Judge to make decision Friday on whether McHenry County sheriff candidate can remain on ballot

A judge tasked with deciding whether a McHenry County sheriff hopeful can remain on the ballot is set to make his decision Friday, he said.

At a hearing Wednesday at the McHenry County courthouse, Judge Kevin Costello heard arguments from attorneys representing both sheriff candidate Tony Colatorti and objectors Joel Brumlik and William Brogan.

The hearing was another chapter in the objection to Colatorti’s candidacy, which argued he doesn’t have the proper qualification to hold the position of sheriff. Colatorti, a Republican, is one of two people vying for sheriff. His opponent, current McHenry County Undersheriff Robb Tadelman, is also a Republican.

Colatorti, who has about two decades of law enforcement experience, holds a part-time officer certificate. Brogan and Brumlik, in a filing dating back to March, said a full-time certificate is required.

The new requirement was part of a sweeping criminal justice package passed by the Illinois General Assembly during its lame duck session last year.

An electoral board sided with Colatorti in April and the objectors requested a judicial review a week later.

Lasting about an hour, the hearing Wednesday consisted mostly of a back-and-forth between Costello and the objectors’ attorney Keri-Lyn Krafthefer.

McHenry County sheriff candidate Robb Tadelman files his candidacy forms the morning of Monday, March, 7, 2022, at the McHenry County Clerk's Office in Woodstock. Monday was the first day for candidates to file ahead of the June primaries. This election season includes all McHenry County Board seats, the clerk, sheriff and regional superintendent of education. The candidates were trying to get the first slot on the ballot by filling at 8 a.m. When more than one candidate applies at a time, a lottery is held.

McHenry County sheriff candidate Robb Tadelman files his candidacy forms the morning of Monday, March, 7, 2022, at the McHenry County Clerk’s Office in Woodstock. Monday was the first day for candidates to file ahead of the June primaries. This election season includes all McHenry County Board seats, the clerk, sheriff and regional superintendent of education. The candidates were trying to get the first slot on the ballot by filling at 8 a.m. When more than one candidate applies at a time, a lottery is held. (Gregory Shaver/)

Krafthefer argued the process by which Colatorti obtained his certification was not “full-time and continuous.” Costello noted the content and hours needed to obtain a certificate are the same for both full-time and part-time.

The statute requires sheriffs to have completed the Minimum Standards Basic Law Enforcement Officers Training Course, or one substantially similar from either another state or the federal level.

Costello asked if the intent of the law was to make sure candidates had previous law enforcement experience and if Colatorti would be qualified had he obtained similar training in another state like Iowa. Krafthefer said he would since that is how the law is written.

“I don’t understand how that jives,” Costello said. “That’s an absurd result.”

Krafthefer cited a few different things that she said showed the state considered full-time and part-time certification differently. Tadelman has a single course on his training record, she said, while Colatorti’s was done more “piecemeal.” She also pointed to forms from the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board that distinguishes the certificates.

“The General Assembly would not have specified one specific course if they intended for a series of courses to be okay,” she said.

Colatorti’s attorney, Ross Secler, pointed to testimony given during the April electoral board hearing, in which John Keigher, chief legal counsel for the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, said both part-time and full-time officers had similar training.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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