ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain appointed the first woman and non-first responder to the Sheriff’s Merit Commission, officials announced in a news release.
Hain recommended the appointment of Batavia resident Jody Kanikula, a licensed social worker who ran for the Kane County Board in 2018, as she would fit the needs of modern police staffing, the release stated.
The Kane County Board unanimously approved Kanikula’s appointment on March 12.
“I am so grateful to be given this opportunity by Sheriff Ron Hain,” Kanikula stated in the release. “I hope to bring my unique perspective as a licensed clinical social worker and as a woman to the commission, in order to support our community and the men and women in the sheriff's office who protect us every day.”
Historically, the Sheriff’s Merit Commission was served by retired local police officers, all of which were men. Batavia resident and retired fireman, Todd Zies, offset the commission’s historic record of retired law enforcement members.
The commission is body designed by state statute to conduct hiring and determine discipline or termination for deputies and corrections officers.
Hain realized the need for an independent voice in the acquisition, retention and termination of staff to increase public accountability and transparency, the release stated.
Kanikula will begin her Merit Commission service at this month’s meeting on March 26 and will experience her first hiring process in May, as deputy applications are opening during the first three weeks of April.
Kanikula’s appointment follows the retirement of Elmer Weber, who served 20 years on the Merit Commission.