MINOOKA — Ken Briley had pondered running for political office for about 10 years. The time to act, he says, is now.
Briley, a 32-year veteran in corrections, law enforcement and public service, is officially entering the race to become the next Grundy County Sheriff. He is likely running against Kevin Callahan, who was appointed sheriff shortly after the passing of Terry Marketti in December 2012.
Briley, though, is certainly no stranger to a role as demanding as sheriff. In fact, he previously served from 2000 to 2005 as the warden of Stateville Correctional Center, where he was responsible for the prison’s population and finances.
Since that time, Briley has served with the Minooka Police Department, earning an appointment to become the village’s Emergency Management director in 2012. Most recently, Briley’s role proved vital in the response to the devastating April floods that swept through the area.
After Markett’s passing, some urged Briley to seek the sheriff’s seat due to his work ethic and background. So, seeing the time to act, Briley is getting to work a year and a half ahead of time.
“I feel I need that year to get out and meet people, face to face,” he said. “I want the citizens of Grundy County to know I am an approachable person who is willing to listen to and act on their concerns.”
Q: Tell us about your background and what led you to your current position.
A: As a child, like many children, I wanted to be a police officer. I wanted to know what it was like to be locked up before I took people’s freedom away from them, so 10 days after I graduated from high school in 1981, I began my career with the Illinois Department of Corrections. Over the next 24 years, I held every position from officer through Warden. From 2000 to 2005, I served as the warden of the Stateville Correctional Center. In 2005, I began my employment with the Minooka Police Department. In addition, I also serve the citizens of Morris and Coal City as a part-time police officer. In 2012, Minooka Village President Brennan appointed me to the position of Emergency Management Agency Director for the village of Minooka.
Q: What made you decide to enter the race for Grundy County Sheriff in 2014?
A: After the sad, unexpected death of Sheriff Terry Marketti, several people who know my background in public service, law enforcement and corrections asked me to consider running. Over the past 10 years, I have thought about someday running for political office. With my experience, I feel I am the best qualified candidate for this office.
Q: If elected, what would your top priorities be as Grundy County Sheriff?
A: There are a number of issues which need attention. One need only look to recent events to know that making sure our local schools have adequate security has to be my top priority. In addition, I plan to perform a complete budget review to identify ways to eliminate wasteful spending, and the practices that lead to wasteful spending. I also believe that a comprehensive review of jail operations and court security is required to better prevent events.
Q: What makes you the right person to serve as Sheriff?
A: First and foremost, the Sheriff is the manager of the office. That includes managing the budget and payroll, dealing with union issues, providing the right oversight to assure effective services, and focusing on using our resources properly. My 32-year background in corrections, law enforcement, public service, as well as fire service, paramedic, Emergency Management Agency Director, as a Warden responsible for the supervision of 1,500 employees and managing an operational budget of $120 million, along with my work ethic and the ability to connect with people provide the right knowledge, experience and skills to be an effective Sheriff for Grundy County.
———This story first appeared in the Morris Daily Herald's sister publication, Minooka-Channahon Life. For additional questions and responses, log onto http://www.mymclife.com.