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ISP Releases OREP Results from Gallatin

Illinois State Police District 19 Releases Results from
Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrol

Carmi, IL - Illinois State Police (ISP) District 19 has released
enforcement figures from the Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrol
(O.R.E.P.) conducted in Gallatin County on Friday, 10/17/14.
Enforcement Activity
Safety Belt Citations
Child Restraint Citations
Total Citations
Total Warnings

        Most motorists have learned that safety belts save lives, but some
ignore their safety and that of their families by neglecting to use safety
belts and child restraint devices.  These patrols reinforce the occupant
protection message by targeting those who choose to ignore the law.  Lives
can be saved if people simply buckle up!  This project was funded through
the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Transportation

Ridgway Drivers Beware!

Starting today, October 23, 2014 the intersections in Ridgway are changing.  You will notice that the corner at the Gallatin County Tin & Hardware is now a 4 Way Stop Intersection.  The intersection at the Bank and Legion is now a 2 Way Stop intersection going East and West.   According the Village workers they are changing some other intersections also and will announce later all the changes.   Some Yield signs are being replaced with new ones also.

In the Picture is Village employees, Bob Roberts and George Risley installing the Stop Sign by the Post office.   Drive safe and be sure to look for all the new signs.

Ridgway Man Enters Guilty Plea in Drug Charge

33-year-old Ryan Earl Bess of Ridgway has entered a guilty plea to federal charges he was growing a large amount of marijuana.  Bess was caught growing more than 100 marijuana plants at a location in rural Gallatin County.  

Officials say the offenses occurred in Gallatin County between April and August of 2012. Bess fled Illinois following his indictment and was arrested in Colorado earlier this year.

 Sentencing has been set for Feb. 11, 2015 in Benton. 

Bess faces between five and 40 years in prison and up to $5 million in fines if convicted.

Lot of Activity in Ridgway

There seems to be a lot of activity in Ridgway with building construction.  What a wonderful site it is especially in the small towns of the Midwest.  You will see below pictures of the new First Baptist Church Family Center being built next to the Ridgway First Baptist Church.  It seems to be coming up really fast.   Next you will see the cleanup in progress at Tri County Chemical, where a recent fire destroyed some of the buildings.  After the cleanup, new buildings will be erected.  And finally you will see the Steel going up at St. Kateri Catholic Church.  The picture shows the East end of the building where the Altar will be.  We will report as these projects continue.  Wishing all 3 continued success.

Ridgway First Baptist

Tri County Chemicals

St. Kateri Church.

Drug Court - Reducing Crime, Restoring Lives


 DRUG COURT – REDUCING CRIME, RESTORING LIVES                               



     Now in its 22nd month of operation, Drug Court is active in 10 of the 12 

counties of the 2nd Judicial Circuit; and the number of addicted adult 

offenders in our communities who are taking this opportunity to beat their 

addictions and become productive citizens is already at 50 and growing.   


    What is Drug Court?

       It’s a division of the Circuit Court of each county in which non-violent, 

drug-dependent offenders who are willing to work hard to change their lives 

are sentenced to tough, treatment-and accountability-based Drug Court 

Probation under close monitoring by a Drug Court Judge and Drug Court 


   Is this just another program?

     No.   Drug Court is smart law enforcement.  While only 1/3 of non- 

violent addicted offenders sentenced to prison or traditional probation 

avoid criminal activity after completion of sentence, 75% of all graduates of 

the nation’s 2900 Drug Courts remain arrest free at the 2-year mark after    


     The numbers from several Illinois Drug Courts are even better.  As of  

March 14, 2014, 75% of all Champaign County Drug Court graduates had 

remained arrest-free for at least 4 years; 80% of Dekalb County graduates 

since 2008 had remained completely arrest-free; 92% of the 300+ graduates 

since 1998 had remained free of drug-related arrests; and in McLean 

County, 95% of the 61 graduates since 2008 had remained completely 


     Consider the numbers of drug offenses, thefts, burglaries and 

forgeries and other offenses which aren’t being committed in those counties




because of Drug Court—then consider the impact on crime and the 

improvement in  public safety which the justice officials of our counties can  

bring about through their involvement with Drug Court.    

     In recognition of the fact that well-operated Drug Courts bring about 

higher rates of addiction recovery and greater reductions in crime by 

addicted offenders than either traditional probation or prison, the Illinois 

Drug Court Treatment Act requires every Illinois county to develop and 

operate a Drug Court with a format approved by the Chief Judge of the 



   Does it cost more than, say, prison? 

     No.  It costs much less. In the 2nd Circuit, savings are difficult to gauge 

because the program is “young” and still developing.  However, in 

Champaign County, in which the Drug Court there has operated since 1999, 

the services and resources provided for each Drug Court participant cost 

$20,000 less per year than housing that person in prison.      


     How does it work? 

     In the 2nd Circuit, which includes Crawford, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin,




Hamilton, Hardin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne, and

White Counties, every Drug Court in the 2nd Circuit operates under a 

common set of standards and procedures approved by the Chief Judge. 

     Each Drug Court is operated by a Drug Court Team, led by a judge of the 

Circuit as the Drug Court Judge.  Other members of the team are the 

county's State's Attorney, the Public Defender, a peace officer of the county, 

the Drug Court’s drug counselor serving as Substance Abuse Officer, and a 

Probation Officer serving as Drug Court Officer with responsibility for Drug  

Court duties which include direct supervision of participants. 

     In order for an offender to be accepted into Drug Court, a referral must be 

made to the Drug Court Officer.  To qualify for consideration, a candidate 

must be a drug-dependent criminal defendant charged with either a criminal 

offense related to his or her addiction or violation of a traditional probation 

which was based upon such an offense.   


     How does an offender get into Drug Court? 

     If the Drug Court Officer finds that a candidate wants to participate and 

doesn’t have any disqualifying offenses, and a substance abuse screening 

professional finds that the defendant, in fact,  has a dependency on 


drugs (including alcohol) which  is related to the charged offense, the matter 

goes to the Drug Court Team for full discussion on the referral.  

     Subject to the rights of the Drug Court Judge and State’s Attorney to veto                                               

participation by any candidate, the Drug Court Team makes the decision to 

admit or deny admission of the candidate to Drug Court.  

     If admitted, the defendant appears in Court, pleads guilty, is placed on 

Drug Court Probation for 30 months, and also receives a 6-month stayed 

jail sentence which can be activated as necessary to prompt full compliance 

during the probation.         


     Upon successful completion of Drug Court, participants will graduate and 

be successfully discharged from Drug Court Probation but will usually 

remain convicted of the offenses – typically, felonies-- to which they have 

pleaded guilty.   


     So what is in it for them? 

For Drug Court Probationers, the benefits of graduation and successful 

discharge are:  

  1. (1)that they will not go to prison, 
  1. (2)that their thinking will have normalized, and 
  1. (3)that they will have made life changes and developed skills which




      enable them to stay away from drugs, obey the law, feel their self-   

      worth, and be responsible, productive members of their    



Drug Court Probationers who fail Drug Court and are found in violation of 

their probation will be re-sentenced on their charges without any trial being 

necessary—and that will quite likely mean prison.   


     Why not just regular probation? 

     Traditional probation, which works rather well for non-addicted 

offenders, has evolved over the years to include more post-sentencing 

involvement by the court system than before.  

     Essentially, however, it still represents a sentence by which the 

probationer is ordered to remain offense-free and meet a set of further 

requirements; the Probation Officer meets with the Probationer regularly to 

monitor compliance; the Court receives feedback during periodic reviews or  

if a probationer has failed or is failing, but usually not before; 

 and new or modified probation requirements are usually imposed in 

response to probation violations rather than to help prevent violations.          






     Why don’t addicted offenders perform well on regular probation?    


     It’s because their ability to stop committing offenses depends upon their 

ability to achieve stable recovery from addiction—and in order to do so, they 

must have a lot of help--  through the development of individualized                                                  

treatment plans and tasks; through frequent contact and encouragement and 

immediate accountability to the Drug Court Judge and Drug Court Team; 

and through a brand of probation in which, for addicted defendants, being 

pro-active in support of their successes is recognized as being more effective 

in reducing crime and enhancing community well-being than reacting to 

their failures.  

     Drug Court provides that help. 


     What happens during Drug Court Probation? 

Immediately after a person enters Drug Court, several things happen.  He or 

she either enters an inpatient rehabilitation program or begins treatment 

with the Substance Abuse Officer for at least 9 hours per week.  Random 

drug tests begin.  Subject to inpatient treatment, rehabilitation, the 

Probationer starts appearing before  the Drug Court every week, 

immediately after the Drug Court Team has discussed the Probationer’s 




compliance and progress and the need for sanctions or rewards based upon 

any infractions or successes since the last discussion.  The participant’s 

whereabouts and associations are now subject to restriction by the Drug 

Court, and G.P.S. ankle monitoring can be utilized.  Home visits and 

searches by the Drug Court Officer or law enforcement officer can take 

place at any time.  Because of the danger of substituting one drug for 

another, the participant is prohibited from drinking alcohol, and may not 

take even prescribed medication without the consent of the Drug Court.  


                 During the next thirty months, the participant will progress 

through Drug Court phases in which the frequency of court appearances and 

random testing is gradually stepped down while the Probationer’s 

responsibility for honing his or her drug avoidance skills, having a living- 

wage job, having his or her own place to live, and meeting all financial and 

other obligations is stepped up.  It’s a tough process – so tough, in fact, that 

many decide they would rather go to prison. However, the results for those 

who graduate from Drug Court – maintained sobriety, pride in themselves, 

and law-abiding and productive lives—are worth the effort.      







Who is most likely to succeed in Drug Court? 

  1. 1.Offenders who are addicted (not just experimenting with or using 

     drugs) and who are highly likely to commit further crimes without 

      Drug Court’s components are the best candidates for Drug Court.  

  1. 2.Addicted adults over 25 years of age, with past felony convictions 

     and even prison sentences, now perhaps on traditional probation, and 

     probably headed toward prison, are substantially more likely to 

     succeed and graduate from Drug Court.  They are more likely tired of 

     the way they are living, have a better idea of how dismal prison life is, 

     and are more likely willing to meet the stringent requirements of Drug 


  1. 3.Offenders who are participating in a Drug Court which adheres to the 

     principles proven essential to Drug Court effectiveness nationwide are 

     much more likely to succeed in Drug Court.  This means: 

  1. (a)Drug Court Team conferences and Drug Court session are held 

     regularly, and all Drug Court team members attend and actively 


  1. (b)While the Drug Court Judge is the ultimate arbiter, the Drug 

      Court Team works together to supervise participants and assist




       them in the difficult process of maintaining and becoming     

       responsible and productive.


  1. (c)Drug Court Probationers are provided with intensive substance 

      abuse treatment, random drug testing, and are treated firmly but 

      with fairness.


  1. (d)Drug Court Probationers are held strictly accountable through 

swift sanctions.  

  1. (e)Drug Court Teams partner with community leaders and groups for                                                       support and to obtain scarce resources essential to recovery—in 

           our Circuit, jobs and sober housing.        


So how is Drug Court working out in the 2nd Circuit?


    It is working well! 


    As of July 2014, 54 persons had been admitted to Drug Court since the 

   initial startup in January 2013.  Of those 54 participants, 83% remained 

   arrest-free while participating, and 82% were still active Drug Court 

   Probationers.  New Drug Court Probationers are being admitted regularly, 

   and our Drug Court Teams are working collaboratively and consistently in 

   order to assure that our program in the 2nd Circuit works as well as so 




 many other excellent Drug Courts throughout the country. 

 In the 2nd Circuit, Drug Court is beginning to fulfill its promise of enabling 

 addicted defendants to become and remain drug free and lead productive, 

 law-abiding lives.  With the continuing efforts of the 2nd Circuit Drug 

 Court teams and the support of the people in our communities, this very 

important division of our court system will help restore many lives and make 

the 2nd Circuit an even safer and better place in which to live.



Judge Stephen G. “Steve” Sawyer (Retired)

Director of Specialty Courts of the Illinois 2nd Judicial Circuit