The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer - Quill Publisher/Owner
It was December 1st, 2010 that Steven P. Haynes was sworn in as Henderson County Sheriff after starting in the office as a radio dispatcher and working his way up as the county's keeper of the peace. He has now completed 5 years of service as Henderson County's Sheriff.
In 2011, his first year as sheriff, Haynes and Illinois State Police commander Captain Robert L. Elliott of District 14 recognized a slew of supporters who assisted the Sheriff and the Illinois State Police in Henderson County's first year ever, as a county in the state without a traffic related fatality.
The last time that had ever happened in Illinois was in 1997, fifteen years earlier.
Sheriff Haynes has now served the county nearly 25 years in law enforcement.
Haynes grew up in Oquawka, graduated from Union High School, and has lived in Henderson County all his life.
He began in law enforcement in the early 1990s, when he was hired by Sheriff Daryl "Pete" Thompson as a radio dispatcher at the Sheriff's office and jail.
He was soon promoted as a Deputy Sheriff and attended the Illinois Police Academy for training, in 1992, and then Haynes moved to Stronghurst where he was assigned to the area.
After a few years working on the road, in 1998, Haynes was assigned to the West Central Illinois Drug Task Force which he explains is a multi-drug task force agency that tracks investigations in all of the counties in District 14.
Haynes gained valuable training in basic narcotic school in Naperville and training in Marion.
After his training, Haynes returned to policing the roads for awhile as Henderson County Deputy, then Sheriff Thompson promoted him to be an investigator for the Sheriff's Department which he continues today in his role as Sheriff.
Sheriff Haynes has appointed Matt Link as the lead investigator who looks into burglaries and thefts for the department although he said, "the minute we put on a badge, we are all investigators."
Sheriff oversees all the department activities. He does administration work, meets with the county board, and handles calls, and accidents.
"I campaigned when I ran that I would be a working sheriff and that's what I do," Haynes said.
Sheriff Haynes also may be seen at the school speaking, or at another time, in Springfield at a meeting.
He continues with Crime Stoppers, but DARE is no longer here, which is due to earlier state cuts before Haynes was elected as sheriff.
One of the biggest changes Haynes faced coming into office was that the sheriff's department no longer contracted to serve communities such as Stronghurst, Oquawka and Lomax which allowed for an extra deputy on staff, due to cuts made by the county board.
So, when Sheriff Haynes was elected as sheriff, he said, "I didn't replace my own spot with another deputy, to save the county money."
Haynes says, "Oquawka ended up getting their own police department, as did Stronghurst and Lomax, and we all work together, as well as with other agencies."
Haynes explained that it is all working very good. "We are all working on the same page...working together."
The Henderson County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) consists of 7 full time and 6 part time deputies, 4 full time, and 4 part time dispatchers, 1 secretary and 1 part time secretary and 2 part time jailers. The jail houses 16 when full, and keeps busy with at least 3 or 4 incarcerated daily.
In discussing the sheriff's needs and the issues he will face in 2016, as well as past accomplishments, Sheriff Haynes said, "The Henderson County Sheriff's Department continues to work for the citizens of Henderson County to create a safe place in which to live in.
"In 2015, as a department, we have been committed in fighting to keep drugs out of Henderson County, fighting crime, and interacting with our citizens.
"I work closely with West Central Illinois Task Force to help deterrent drugs from our county and shut down meth labs.
"The HCSO has a good working relationship with the village police departments in the county, as well as the surrounding counties, and all emergency agencies."
He said, "The Henderson County Sheriff's Office conducts regular sex offender compliance checks on all registered sex offenders, this includes unannounced home visits to verify their residence address along with other required information.
He explained, full-time law enforcement has been successfully implemented at the Henderson County Courthouse, whereby people entering the courthouse are screened with a walk through magnetometer and a hand held magnetometer.
There are new surveillance cameras at the courthouse.
"This commitment of serving and working with the citizens of Henderson County will continue into 2016.
"A goal in the New Year will be to implement a new reporting system as well as a booking system, replacing the current, 1997, reporting/jail management system.
"The new system will be more proficient allowing for deputies to have more time out patrolling and interacting with the public."
Haynes is a member of Western Illinois Police Training Unit, Illinois Sheriff's Association, West Central Illinois Task Force, Henderson County Crime Stoppers and the N.R.A.
Sheriff Haynes remains living in Stronghurst and expressed that he truly has feelings for the people and for the county.
"I enjoy the lifestyle here," he said, and "I really enjoy serving the wonderful people of Henderson County."
He and his wife Heather have two sons, Brody Haynes and Codey Anderson, and two daughters Kilene and Adalynn Haynes.
Sheriff Haynes with Secretary, Teresa Boock. Teresa has been with the department 21 years.