Grundy County's newest sheriff's deputy is a testament to the department's popular Explorer program.
Last week, Sheriff Ken Briley introduced Deputy Zachary D. Spesia to the members of the Grundy County Board.
"The police Explorer program started in September of 2013, under the direction of Sheriff Callahan" Briley said. "The sheriff's program is designed to create a working relationship with our youth int he community and the deputies and the employees of the sheriff's office. It's a great program for kids aged 14 to 21 who have an interest in becoming a law enforcement officer or just pursuing a career in criminal justice."
Briley said Deputy Spesia was one of the core members of the program who kicked off what would eventually be his career in law enforcement as one of the first Explorers in 2013 at the age of 16.
He earned the rank of Sergeant with the Explorers in May 2015, and continued with the program until he aged out at 21.
Spesia continued to assist the department after that, teaching young Explorers and assisting the department at community events such as Carbon Hill Days and traffic control during the 4th of July fireworks display at the Grundy County Fairgrounds.
A life-long resident of Grundy County, Spesia graduated from Coal City High School and continued on to JJC before transferring to Lewis University. He will complete his bachelor's degree in December 2019. Later this month, he'll begin the Illinois law enforcement part-time training academy in Princeton, a 560 hour training academy. Spesia is expected to graduate May 20, 2020.
Upon graduation, Deputy Spesia will come back and work with the Grundy County Sheriff's Department in a field training officer program for three months, where he'll work side by side with our deputies on the street.
"This is a big deal," Briley said. "[Deputy Spesia] always wanted to be a police officer and to start in the Explorer program and to be here tonight and ultimately end up becoming a Grundy County Deputy is a big deal."
Spesia was sworn in during the meeting.