---- — A fourth candidate has joined what is becoming a crowded Republican primary for Effingham County sheriff.
Unlike the first three announced candidates, this one is currently employed by the Sheriff’s Department.
Cpl. Darren Feldkamp stated in a news release Tuesday that he would be seeking the GOP nomination in the race to succeed retiring three-term Sheriff John Monnet. Feldkamp joins a field that includes Effingham City Police Chief Mike Schutzbach and retired Illinois state troopers John Gardner and Dave Mahon.
Feldkamp said his 17 years of experience within the department sets him apart from the other candidates.
Feldkamp stated in the release he would try to make himself accessible to the public, as well as sheriff’s department employees.
“This will include fiscal transparency and accountability to the taxpayers of Effingham County,” he said.
Feldkamp said he would hold monthly town hall meetings at different locations so that residents can voice their concerns about the department, as well as giving him a forum to provide education on public safety issues.
The candidate added that he would like to meet monthly with other first responder agencies on a county and regional basis, as well as provide training to his staff on emerging issues, such as Internet crime.
Feldkamp, a lifelong resident of Effingham County, graduated from Altamont High School in 1985 and Lake Land College in 1987. He has an associate’s of applied science degree from Lake Land in agriculture. He also has certificates from the University of Illinois Police Training Institute for both correctional and sworn officers, as well as certification as both a school resource and juvenile officer.
He began his law enforcement career as an Effingham County correctional officer in 1996. Three years later, he was named the county’s first School Resource Officer. He worked all five county school districts until additional SROs were named in 2002.
He was promoted to corporal last year.
Feldkamp has received numerous honors during his law enforcement career, including the highest score in his graduating class at the Police Training Institute. Other honors include:
• Correctional Officer of the Year from the International Association of Correctional Officers.
• Outstanding Service Award from the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department.
• American Legion Citation of Achievement for being a finalist for Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
Feldkamp is also heavily engaged in the community as a charter member of the Effingham Lions Club, member of Altamont Masonic Lodge 533, board member for the Effingham County Youth Commission, Altamont Unit 10 school board member and member of the Effingham County Farm Bureau.
Feldkamp is the son of Roy and Joanne Feldkamp of Altamont. He is married to the former Karen Kautzner and has three children.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at email@example.com.