Caruana wins bid to remain Winnebago County Sheriff

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Sheriff Gary Caruana defeated his Democratic challenger, retired Deputy Chief Bob Springer, in the race for Winnebago County Sheriff.

Caruana previously beat Springer four years ago.

The Winnebago County Board asked Caruana to cut $4.3 million from his 2018 budget, a move which, at times, put him at odds with the board and drew criticism from his opponent.

Caruana says he believes in a regional approach to policing, adding he has a great working relationship with Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea.

“We’re on the Joint Task Force together,” Caruana said. “[We] have a great relationship with the city, Dan and I. [We] actually did the ‘Brothers in Blue’ thing, which made us closer and we got the message out that, hey, we’re working together.”

Caruana says he has inherited a culture that had been in place for more than 30 years, and he says change is difficult.

“We’re developing a different model, a different mouse trap, so to speak, that’s going to work better,” Caruana said. “Am I hurting some feelings and stepping on some people’s feet as I am changing that culture? Yeah.”

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