John Matz
Sheriff, Winnebago County

as told to Jack Tierney

“We must continue to try new programs to assist in the rehabilitation of people addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s sometimes tough for law enforcement to accept that some of these people will reuse when you’re trying to help. We have to recognize there will be failures along the way. With that being said we need to continue to have expectations and personal accountability. The participants must have skin in the game and know that we are trying to help, but they are truly the only ones who can successfully get and remain sober. We can set appointments for inmates leaving our facility, drive them there, walk them in but we can’t force them into sobriety. We won’t give up on them but ultimately their success or failure is up to them. It’s all about caring and helping but always holding them accountable. The victim mentality is not beneficial throughout the recovery process.”

Winnebago County Sheriff John Matz was elected in 2010 and began serving in 2011. Under Matz’s direction, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office hired an in-jail Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor and started a 24/7 alcohol and drug diversion program. For more FIXED stories, please visit