County board appoints interim sheriff


Rob Le Cates

From right, Tyler Heleine, interim sheriff for Coles County, is congratulated by Coles County Board member Darrell Cox for being officially declared as interim sheriff at the end of the Thursday County Board meeting.

Madelyn Kidd, News Editor

The Coles County Board appointed Tyler Heleine, the Coles County chief deputy, to officially be the Coles County interim sheriff at Tuesday’s meeting.

Heleine has been announced as the Coles County interim sheriff following the previous sheriff, James “Jimmy” Rankin, signing off and retiring on Feb. 16 with over nine months remaining of his elected term.

Heleine is honored to be appointed interim sheriff and plans to improve the Coles County Sheriff Department while he is the appointed interim sheriff until the new sheriff, which will be elected this year, starts in December.

“I take a lot of pride in my job as a chief deputy, and I am very thankful to get this opportunity,” Heleine said. “And my goal is to continue to work to make things better within the sheriff’s department and within the county. A new sheriff will take the seat in December, and my goal is to continue to increase our staffing and make the sheriff’s department a better place overall and a better place to work.”

Following Rankin signing off, Heleine was named interim Coles County sheriff by Rankin until an interim sheriff was officially appointed by the Coles County Board. 

Despite Rankin signing off in February, the Coles County Board did not appoint an interim sheriff during their last meeting on March 8. They only made an announcement to appoint a Coles County interim sheriff in a future meeting.

When announcing the appointment of Heleine, Brandon Bell, the chair of the Coles County Board, stated Heleine will be interim sheriff for the remainder of Rankin’s term until Nov. 30. Afterwards the newly elected sheriff will begin his term.

Currently, there are two candidates filed to run for sheriff this election Kent Martin, a previous Eastern public chief of police, and Stephen “Steve” Spear, who has worked in the sheriff’s department for 22 years.

Both candidates are Republican. 

Spear previously ran against Rankin during the 2018 election year.

At the May Coles County Board meeting, Marisol Gamboa, Eastern’s chief of public safety, will be appointed to the Coles County 911 Board.

The meeting will be on May 10 at 7 p.m. at the Coles County Courthouse.


Madelyn Kidd can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]