Tom Templeton to retire from La Salle County sheriff post

Templeton recommends Under Sheriff Adam Diss as replacement

La Salle County Sheriff Tom Templeton announced Monday he will retire from his post effective June 30.

Templeton made the announcement during the La Salle County Board’s regular meeting.

“In my 24 years, there’s been no time I’ve come before you as difficult as today. June 30 will be my last day,” Templeton told the board.

Templeton recommended his Under Sheriff Adam Diss to be appointed sheriff. The La Salle County Board has 60 days to confirm his appointment.

“I strongly, firmly ask you to make that appointment permanent,” Templeton said.

Templeton said every decision he has made has been with La Salle County residents’ best interest in mind and that he wouldn’t trade his time as sheriff for anything. The County Board gave him a standing ovation after he concluded his announcement.

After former Sheriff Tony Condie declined to seek reelection in 1998, his administration beset by a sexual harassment lawsuit, then-Capt. Tom Templeton quickly emerged as a suitor as the county’s top cop. The 46-year-old Air Force veteran and graduate of Hall High School and IVCC and had amassed 25 years experience plus extensive continuing education at the FBI’s National Academy.

Nevertheless, the 1998 election for sheriff was a tight one. Templeton held off Democrat Dan Sedlock by a 4% margin, seizing 18,001 votes to Sedlock’s 16,490.

He proved to be a capable administrator who steered the county through an eventful 20 years. He largely commandeered the 2004 disaster site in Utica after a tornado devastated downtown and claimed eight lives (two more deaths would be attributed to the tornado) in the collapse of a downtown structure.

The new jail was completed under his watch and he also oversaw the installation of enhanced 911. There also were setbacks, such as when a Coal City motorist was stripped in La Salle County Jail after her drunk-driving arrest. Though Templeton said his corrections officers followed jail policy and did nothing wrong, the county settled the case for nearly $500,000.

Nevertheless, Templeton frequently ran unopposed – he crushed his most recent opponent, Rodney Hampton, in 2014 – and even was courted for higher office, though he declined to run for Illinois Senate against the late Patrick Welch.

Derek Barichello

Derek is a Streator High and University of Illinois graduate. He worked at the Albany-Herald in Albany, Ga., and for Sauk Valley Media in Sterling, before returning to his hometown paper. He's now news editor for both the NewsTribune and The Times.