Reader questions sheriff’s policy


My experience in this world and this country throughout my lifetime in excess of 80 years has been if one does something wrong (is at fault), there is a penalty assessed according to existing laws and corresponding uniform enforcement of said laws irregardless of race, creed, sex, color, etc.

It came to my attention in August of 2018 that the Champaign County Sheriff’s policy for issuing traffic citations in regards to automobile accidents is for the reporting officer who writes the accident report to choose whether the identified “at fault driver” receives a citation or not. The “at fault driver” who does not receive a citation therefore may continue to drive with no restrictions and very possibly repeat their reckless action with no personal consequences even though a death results from those actions or at least property damage to the party not at fault. Champaign County Sheriff Matt Melvin informed me via a telephone conversation that state law allows for this policy. I have requested information on where this state law can be found but have never been told where.

Assuming such a law exists and the sheriff chooses to adopt the current policy, the county prosecutor’s office is not made aware of these cases, even in resulting deaths from such non-cited (ticketed) offenses. This leaves the sheriff’s office and their actions open to criticism for possible showing of favoritism or worse.

In my humble opinion, the sheriff should change the current policy to one that requires the reporting officer who determined the at-fault party to be required to issue a citation (ticket) to that party and make sure the prosecutor’s office is notified.

Bob Dean

Urbana