Will County sheriff veteran wants to succeed Kaupas
By Brian Stanley firstname.lastname@example.org March 15, 2013 9:20PM
Nick Ficarello | Supplied photo
Updated: April 18, 2013 6:58AM
WILL COUNTY — A veteran of the sheriff’s department says he’s seeking the opportunity to lead it next year.
Nick Ficarello, who served from 1978 to 2009, says he’s planning to run to replace Sheriff Paul Kaupas in the November 2014 election. Kaupas has said he’s not planning to seek another term.
“I am interested in running for sheriff,” Ficarello said. “I’ve invested most of my adult life to the sheriff’s police, and I still have a desire to continue serving the citizens of Will County.”
Ficarello said he’s planning to meet with local Republican leaders after the April election to discuss his candidacy.
While a sheriff’s officer, Ficarello was a sergeant in the Gang Suppression Unit and the multi-agency Cooperative Police Assistance Team. He later served as president of the union for sergeants and lieutenants in the sheriff’s department.
As deputy chief in charge of criminal investigations, Ficarello oversaw the Riley Fox murder case in Wilmington in 2004.
After retiring from the county, Ficarello spent a year as director of campus security at Lewis University before the college established its own police department. He is currently a part-time patrol officer in Posen.
“Before leading a department, I wanted to spend some time back in a squad car to relate to what’s changed for the officer on the street,” he said.
Ficarello and his wife, Barb, live in Manhattan.
Campaign records show Ficarello has been a regular donor to Kaupas’ election efforts. After 40 years with the department, the sheriff announced last year he plans to retire at the end of his third term.
Paul Kaupas’ second-cousin, Ken Kaupas, has frequently been mentioned as another candidate but said “I have nothing to publicly announce at this time” when asked Friday if he had decided to run.
Ken Kaupas currently holds Ficarello’s former position as Deputy Chief in charge of criminal investigations after a 26-year career with the Illinois State Police. Ken Kaupas’ predecessor as the head of the local state police district was Kevin Shaughnessy, who has been Lemont’s police chief for nearly 10 years.
Shaughnessy announced in June that he would like to be considered as the Democratic nominee to replace Kaupas. Shaughnessy, who has 35 years in law enforcement, currently lives just outside Will County but has said he would move if the party is receptive to his candidacy.
Joliet Councilman Robert O’Dekirk has also been approached as a potential candidate. Before becoming an attorney, O’Dekirk was a Joliet officer for 10 years.
“I am interested in running, but I won’t make a decision until after the city’s municipal elections next month,” O’Dekirk said Friday.