Champaign County Sheriff’s Sergeant Norman “JR” Meeker had a 10-year history of violations, including destruction of personal property, contract violations, a Tik Tok account that shared bodycam videos of crime scenes and mountains of missed paperwork. Yet, he was still employed and promoted at the Sheriff’s Office until he flipped a truck while drunk. Champaign County Sheriff’s Office records suggest a systemic inability to deal with over-the-top behavior from its officers — a system in which a sergeant can be disciplined regularly, suspected for having alcohol problems for over a decade, violate contracts and be accused of using racial slurs — yet keep their job.
With the upcoming closure of the County jail in downtown Urbana, the Champaign County Jail Facilities Committee passed a motion last month to fund to health and educational programs in the Champaign County Satellite Jail. Committee members addressed the urgency of moving forward with renovations as quickly as possible throughout these meetings. Issues such as replacing the heating, air, ventilation and cooling systems of the satellite jail were discussed, and designating currently unallocated American Rescue Plan funds specifically to renovate the jail.