SHERIFF 101 - Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch speaks to Rend Lake College students Thursday morning during their introduction to criminal justice class. Mulch covered his office's layout, responsibilities and challenges, and informed the students about employment qualifications and the hiring process. He also offered a little about his career and schooled them on the history and origin of sheriffs. CLICK HERE for a larger image.
INA, Ill. – The students of Rend Lake College’s Introduction to Criminal Justice class got to know Roger Mulch a lot better this morning. For instance, many might not know that Mulch was once on track to become a nuclear submarine welder. But that was before a part-time job introduced him to his calling.
A series of guest speakers visiting RLC’s criminal justice students this semester continued today with Mulch, who as most know is on his second term as Sheriff of Jefferson County and running for his third. He has served consecutive terms as sheriff since taking over for retired Sheriff Roy Dean Bradford in 2002. The longest serving sheriff of Jefferson County was the late Bob D. Pitchford, who held the office for nearly four complete terms from 1978 until his death in 1993.
Mulch lives in Mt. Vernon with his wife, Brenda. His 30 years of local law enforcement experience, and 2,700-plus hours of training and continuing education makes him a valuable resource and worthwhile sounding board for criminal justice students with questions about the field.
He talked to Instructor Ron Meek’s class about his law enforcement background, which starts with a degree from Southeastern Illinois College and includes credentials from Northwestern University and the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois. Additionally, Mulch has served the JCSO as a shift supervisor, chief deputy, commander of a tactical response team he helped develop, and as D.A.R.E Officer which he said was one of the most rewarding roles of his career so far.
He didn’t just cover his story. Mulch put on his ‘professor hat’ and challenged the class’ knowledge of the history of sheriffs. He said it is the oldest law enforcement position in the U.S., and that “sheriff” is mentioned eight times in the Magna Carta, the royal charter of political rights given to rebellious English barons by King John in 1215.
While admitting this field isn’t for everyone, he said law enforcement is “very rewarding” work.
“Law enforcement is something you love or you hate. If you love it, it gets in your blood,” he told them.
Mulch went on to talk and answer questions about the responsibilities and challenges of his office, as well as the different jobs and divisions of a sheriff’s department, including employment qualifications and the hiring process. He explained that successful applicants usually possess a good mixture of common sense, drive and a willingness to work hard.
“I’m honored to be here,” he said. “I applaud you for taking a step toward criminal justice because we need good people.”