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July 21, 2024

Shelby County Dive Team A Division of County Government – Thank You Jake Cole

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On November 10, 2023

Shelby Co., Ill. (ECWd) –

Over the last several months we have witnessed a laundry list of accusations regarding the Shelby County Dive Team, the vehicles, and their equipment.

A few of the crazy claims:

  • Since there was no resolution properly setting up the county dive team they were never part of the county government
  • All the equipment was purchased from donations, not county funds.
  • The Dive Team command vehicle was purchased by the Buffet Foundation and do not belong to the county

Jake Cole, a local businessman has taken great interest in local government affairs, and while commonly off target on key points, he appears energized with a new lease on life in his efforts to defend everything related to the dive team. We must thank him for one of his specific finds which he posted to his personal social media page.  This link is the article Cole screen-captured and posted.   His comment on the post was as follows:  I don’t know the cause or solution to this story, but understand that it was properly fixed, no matter who complained or didn’t complain, I believe it was taken care of by someone. No longer a problem.”

Over the last 13 years, we have watched our Watchdog model take hold in just about every area we spent any time in.  Turns out there are an ever-increasing number of local wannabe watchdogs in Shelby County, and if they ever get housebroken, they might actually help fix a lot of things.  Part of being a credible watchdog is to know the difference between being a watchdog vs a wolfhound.  In short, the process of being an actual watchdog is about actually investigating local complaints from people regarding matters going on in their units of government. The weaponization of a watchdog model is when people become wolfhounds instead of watchdogs.  A wolfhound is out for blood and commonly focuses on doing nothing but creating rage at meetings with false or poorly investigated matters while at the same time submitting massive numbers of requests for records in hopes of finding something they can latch onto as a problem and create false narratives on local social media, many times with a clear political agenda.

After reading the screen capture Cole provided, alarm bells went off.  The news article referenced a federal court case. As Watchdogs, we know a court case will have a public record attached to it.  We had not heard about anything related to this before but in short order, we were able to obtain numerous records from the federal docket and a few others from local sources which tell a story we don’t think Cole and a select few others are going to like, especially a commenter on his post about the matter. Natalie Scott – So the moral of this story is that it was the Dive Team as its own entity that sued and not the county.”

As for the three crazy claims we listed above, the person’s comment on Coles’s post is along those same lines even though there is nothing in the article that would indicate what the person stated.

Facts do matter and it appears, thanks to Jake Cole making us aware of the news article, we have confirmed the following.

  • The Dive Team is part of the County Government and was during the referenced lawsuit as far back as 2011.
  • All the equipment was not purchased from donations.
  • The Dive Team Command vehicle was purchased by the county and belongs to the county.

The federal court records we obtained make it crystal clear, that the dive team is a division of Shelby County.

Numerous county records indicated all kinds of dive team equipment being purchased by the county to include the budget approved every year for them.

Other records make it clear the county is who actually cut a check for the purchase of the vehicle, which means the county owns it.

  • The check donated to the dive team to be used towards the purchase of the vehicle was deposited into the County Fund 050 account according to the County Treasurer which was the donation fund for the dive and rescue team.
  • The County Check paid to the truck company was for slightly more than the donation.
  • Dive Team Purchase Order “Shelby County Dive Team is a governmental agency and is therefore tax-exempt”

While a few are fabricating all kinds of false accusations of felony crimes being committed in relation to the title of the above-referenced vehicle, we wonder if those same allegations will be placed on those who titled the above vehicle in someone’s name other than the county’s name when it was purchased by the county?

We thank Jake Cole for bringing this lawsuit to the public’s attention as it clearly resulted in the disclosure of a whole lot of history which lays the foundation for what we already knew, the dive team was and is part of county government.  The fact a ministerial failure by past county boards resulted in their being temporarily shut down does not change that fact.



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