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Lemont police chief eyes running for Will County sheriff

Lemont Police Chief KevShaughnessy announced he will be candidate for Will County sheriff.  |  file photo

Lemont Police Chief Kevin Shaughnessy announced he will be a candidate for Will County sheriff. | file photo

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Updated: July 23, 2012 6:46AM

WILL COUNTY — A lot of political dealings start on the golf course. Last week, the 2014 sheriff’s race did, too.

The Will County Police Chief’s Association held its annual golf outing June 14 to benefit Special Olympics and the hole’s sponsor is recognized with a sign at the tee.

“I told (retired Plainfield Deputy Chief) Mark Eiting of my interest and he had ‘Shaughnessy For Sheriff’ on the sign,” Lemont Chief Kevin Shaughnessy said.

On Tuesday, Shaughnessy confirmed he is interested in running for sheriff in two years and thought getting his name out early might be for the best.

“Well, now I’ve tested the waters and see what feedback I get,” he said. Shaughnessy, who would run as a Democrat, served 25 years with the state police before becoming Lemont’s chief in 2004.

Shaughnessy sees a parallel between the sheriff’s office and the Lemont police when he arrived.

“I’ve worked well with the sheriff’s office. There are some good people there and I’d like to move them to the next level,” he said.

Shaughnessy admits living four blocks outside the county is “an obstacle” but he may move if the party is receptive to his candidacy.

If selected, Shaughnessy will not be facing an incumbent. Sheriff Paul Kaupas said Tuesday he will not seek a fourth term.

“That will be 41 years for me. I’m done,” he said.

The sheriff acknowledged frequently hearing his second cousin, Ken Kaupas, mentioned as a possible Republican candidate in 2014. Ken Kaupas has led the county’s investigations division since retiring from the state police in 2009. Ken Kaupas’ final assignment during his 26-year career was succeeding Shaughnessy as commander of the state police district that includes Will County.

“With one still coming up in a few months, I think it’s premature to look at the next election,” Kaupas said Tuesday. “So I have nothing to announce at this time.”

Joliet Councilman Robert O’Dekirk said he has also been approached to consider running. O’Dekirk was a Joliet officer for 10 years.

“The city council and my law practice keep me very busy and very happy,” O’Dekirk said. “But I did love working in law enforcement. I haven’t made my mind up yet (to seek a nomination).”

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