SYCAMORE – Roger Scott has accomplished something few people ever do.
The DeKalb County sheriff has served the county’s police force for 45 years and been elected to the post seven times after first being appointed in 1985.
DeKalb County Board Chairman Jeff Metzger said, according to county payroll records, Scott has served the county longer than anyone. Although his appointment wasn’t popular at the time, Metzger said Scott has proven detractors wrong.
“In March 1985, the County Board appointed Roger as county sheriff,” Metzger said in a statement he read at the January County Board meeting. “Some say he was a compromise candidate, but many knew the qualities Roger would being to the office.”
Scott’s career with the county began years earlier when he was hired in communications, then called the radio room, he said.
“I joined the department Jan. 1, 1969, on third shift in the radio room,” Scott said. “I worked in the radio room about eight or nine months.”
Scott said Melvin Shaw was the sheriff at the time, and it was a different era.
“We only had about 15 people in the whole department then,” Scott recalled. “We have about 100 now.”
During his years with the department, Scott has pursued several initiatives, including the Drug Task Force, Major Crimes Task Force, Special Operations Team, electronic home monitoring to ease crowding at the jail and the county’s K-9 program in 1974.
Chief Deputy Gary Dumdie, formerly a K-9 handler who worked with five police dogs over 32 years, said he has learned a lot from Scott.
“Early on, he gave me good advice on working the dog,” Dumdie said.
There have been many innovations and technological advancements in law enforcement in the past 45 years, but basic policing has not changed, Scott said.
“You can’t replace good, old-fashioned police work,” Scott said.
County Administrator Gary Hanson said he appreciates Scott’s professionalism and passion for law enforcement.
“It’s a pleasure to work with someone with high integrity,” Hanson said. “We don’t often agree, particularly on financial matters, but at the end of the day, we always reach a workable solution.”
Along with the work itself, Scott said he appreciates the opportunity to work with so many high-quality men and women, not only in his department, but throughout the county.
“We have good relationships with all the departments, but particularly Sycamore, DeKalb and NIU now,” Scott said.
Those high-quality people in Scott’s department do not go unrecognized, Dumdie said.
“When the sheriff hears about the good work his people do, he recognizes it, in one way or another,” Dumdie said.
For example, Dumdie said, Scott has taken to posting letters he receives from the community that commend the staff.
“It’s a nice incentive to let people know they are appreciated,” Dumdie said.
Even after 45 years in the department, Scott said he enjoys going to work every day. And he plans to run for an eighth term this year. Scott, a Republican, has no challenger in the upcoming March primary.
“Without good people here over the years, I would not still be here,” Scott said. “Whether you believe in scripture or not, I think our function as law enforcement is a ministry for good.”