Marc McLemore Gives Words of Wisdom About Criminal Justice to Lewis & Clark Community College

By Kal Weiss 

On Wednesday, Feb. 28, Marc McLemore, the retired captain of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, discussed his career in law enforcement and the challenges that arose from serving the public as a central figure in his branch of the department. The event took place in Reid Memorial Library, sponsored by Student Activities and the Criminal Justice program. It was open to the students of Lewis & Clark and the public. 

He is a born and raised resident of Alton, which helped him connect with the people he worked with on a personal level. After he graduated high school, he went to SIUE and graduated with a degree in psychology. While he was attending SIUE, he took a criminal justice class here at LC, which he said influenced him later. He worked for a bit in the mental health field, which was a decision that led him to work in law enforcement.  

“That job wasn’t very lucrative; I knew that job wasn’t going to be permanent,” Marc McLemore said. “I also took a class here with one of my favorite instructors of all time, Lars Hoffman.”  

McLemore referenced points of subjects he learned in Hoffman’s history class, saying many positive words about him. Hoffman ended up becoming the first mayor of Godfrey in 1991, serving for two terms.  

“At that time, I did not know a lot about politics, but I knew that would come in handy working in criminal justice,” McLemore said. Hoffman wrote a letter of recommendation for him to the Madison County sheriff at the time. 

He followed that up by discussing how he realized that a job in law enforcement had more opportunities than his previous job. He started out with being tested by the Illinois State Police; after he passed that, he was forwarded to the Alton Police Department.  

He reminisced, “My sister gave me advice: ‘Go up to the sheriff’s office and act like you know the sheriff.’” He went back to the office after his interview and got hired on June 15, 1992. 

McLemore worked patrol for five years, then was promoted to a field training officer. After that, he was promoted to the technology division where he worked for three years. While in the tech division, he worked federal-level cases, which gave him an insurmountable amount of expertise in his field. He gradually climbed up to the top, working as a lieutenant, patrol commander, and finally, the Madison County Director of Courts.  

During his run as the captain of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, he received training at the FBI’s national academy in Quantico, Va., graduating in June of 2008. After a fruitful career, he retired from the field in 2018, having worked for the Alton and Godfrey area for 26 years. He now works for United Fruit and Produce Company as a chief operating officer. 

Jared Hennings, the Student Activities coordinator, thinks that events like these can make the community more empathetic toward the criminal justice system.  

“When you have a person that has the broad experience that Marc McLemore has, he can bring a special kind of knowledge to the surface. I would say that his words and actions will do something for the overall good of the relationship between Madison County’s law enforcement and the general public,” said Hennings.

About Kal Weiss

Kal is pursuing a degree in Graphic Design and plans to graduate in Winter 2024. After graduation, they plan to begin their graphic design career.
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