DECATUR — Jim Root said at a press conference Friday his wide range of experience in the department made him the best choice to replace retiring Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider.
Root, a Decatur native and lieutenant with the Macon County Sheriff’s Department, spoke at the Decatur Civic Center accompanied by his wife, Amy Root, and several members of the department. He said his decision to run in the November 2018 election came after months of deliberation and meetings with his co-workers, family, friends and Amy.
“I’ve had the privilege to work under four sheriffs. I’ve seen the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, and the inner-workings of this department,” Root said. “I know it needs to make progress.”
Schneider announced Thursday that he does not plan to run for re-election at the end of his current term, which expires in December 2018. Lt. Tony Brown and Lt. Jon Butts are also planning to run for sheriff, but intend to make their formal announcements at later dates.
Root is a 1986 Eisenhower graduate and veteran of the Marine Corps. He began working for the sheriff’s department in 1996 as a third-shift patrol officer. He was promoted to detective after four years and assigned to the Illinois State Police Drug Task Force. He was promoted to sergeant in 2006, supervising deputies in the patrol division, and maintaining and writing policies for the department.
Root was promoted to lieutenant in 2009 and assigned to the Emergency Management Agency (EMA). He said he has worked to ensure local school districts comply with state laws on emergency planning and he’s a rapid deployment instructor, teaching first responders how to deal with active shooter situations.
As EMA lieutenant, Root has been in charge of overseeing a $260,000 budget.
“I’ve assisted in taking this department to a level of excellence for the citizens of Macon County,” Root said. “I know to continue down this path, it’ll take a leader with integrity, leadership skills and the ability to be held accountable to the citizens of Macon County. I am that leader.
“I assure you that if I’m the sheriff, the men and women will be equipped with what they need and I’ll be financially responsible with the tax dollars you invest in our service.”
Schneider was among the several members of the sheriff’s department in attendance.
“Whenever the next leadership comes through, I applaud you for the leadership skills you’ve given us over the years,” Root said to Schneider.