While Chad Kaylor, of Metropolis, may officially be the new sheriff in town, he is no stranger to law enforcement, as he has been in the law enforcement field for 19 years. Seventeen of those have been at Massac County Sheriff's Department.
On Aug. 30, as former Sheriff Ted Holder officially retired, Kaylor was sworn in by Massac Circuit Court Judge Cord Wittig in the courtroom at the Massac County Courthouse Annex, surrounded by a room full of family, friends and colleagues.
Earlier this year, in February, when former Chief Deputy J.D. Haverkamp was in Holder's office talking about retirement, it was at that particular moment Holder said he knew he was also ready to retire.
"I knew I had my replacement. I didn't tell him [Kaylor] that, but I started putting more responsibilities on him to see if he could do the job, and Chad has done an outstanding job," said Holder.
Holder had been sheriff for the last eight years, and prior to that served as chief deputy to former Sheriff Bob Griffey. Holder worked for the Massac County Sheriff's Department for a total of 20 years. Holder's retirement ended a 40-year career in law enforcement, which includes employment at the Metropolis City Police Department, two years working for former judge Joe Jackson and 18 months at Vienna Correctional Center.
In June, a retirement party was held in honor of Haverkamp and Holder.
According to Holder, 15 years ago -- in 2004 -- Jon Steel became the first deputy to retire with 20 years of service as a Massac County deputy. Haverkamp, with his 35 years of employment, serving under six different sheriffs, became the longest serving deputy in Massac County's history.
As for becoming the next sheriff of Massac County, Kaylor said, "It was something that I had looked into and thought about very hard. I think I'm up to the task, and this is something I want to go after."
Kaylor joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1996 and served in the infantry and, when he left the Corps, he was ranked as a sergeant. "The Marines changed me drastically. It made me grow up. It was a job you love to hate. The Marine Corps taught me how to lead and make decisions," said Kaylor.
"I owe so much to Ted Holder. He taught me how to be a deputy. He taught me investigations. He treated me like family -- as he did with his employees. I can only hope I will be half the sheriff he was. I also have to give a shout out to Harry Masse. Back in the day, he was with the Illinois State Police assigned here. He showed up to many incidents I was involved in. Harry is an old school cop," said Kaylor.
According to Kaylor, the part of law enforcement he enjoys is the gratitude. "It is the gratitude given by people when you can help them with a situation -- being in a position that helps someone when they have been victimized or in a bad situation. It seems you turn on the national news or look at social media, and you see a lot of a negative attitude toward law enforcement. You don't see that in Massac County. Many people show respect to law enforcement. I had someone from another department with me one day when we were working a case together. As we drove through town, people waved at us. He mentioned how friendly and receptive people were towards us. It wasn't like that where he worked. I have witnessed a total stranger buy a deputy lunch before," said Kaylor.
The part of his job he does not enjoy is making death notifications.
"To have to come into someone's home and tell them a family member has passed away is terrible. I've investigated many suicides over the years trying to figure out why someone took their own life. All death scenes are tough, especially ones involving children. Those are the ones that stick with me," said Kaylor.
According to Kaylor, his priorities will continue to fight methamphetamine across the county and getting resource officers in every school in Massac County.
"The main thing I have been working on is school safety. It's a high priority. We are already at the schools for the morning drop off and afternoon pick up. We have six schools outside the city limits of Metropolis. Metropolis Police have a quick response time to the schools in town. The schools outside of the city limits take longer to get to, and time is crucial if there is a situation at a school. I have already arranged for a deputy to attend training to become a school resource officer. That certification will allow me to assign that deputy to our county schools. I have talked numerous times with Massac Unit One and Massac County Commissioners about implementing a School Resource Officer (SRO). One deputy for the county schools is not enough, but it's a start. My goal is to expand the SRO program over the years," explained Kaylor.
In addition to school safety, Kaylor said his other focus is methamphetamine. "I've seen what meth has done to Massac County. When I started, it was the time of the meth super lab. I remember one night I walked into a local hotel room, and it looked like a scene out of 'Breaking Bad.' Those eventually began to dwindle and law enforcement thought they 'had it whooped.' Then came the shake and bake era. The super labs were transformed into a couple soda bottles in a backpack. It seemed every day, we were finding discarded shake and bake labs all over the place," said Kaylor.
Kaylor explains laws were changed, and it made it easier to combat. "The shake and bake labs began to dwindle out, and just when you thought you had that whooped, a new form took over -- high potent crystal meth began flowing in. That's what we are seeing today. It's hard to combat. It's ruining lives and this county. The jail is packed with people and the majority either have a meth charge or a charge they committed because of meth. Whatever the form, meth is a horrible thing," said Kaylor.