Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.
   
     
     
     



Who's being held in contempt?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Chicago Tribune
Editorial

Lambasting top Cook County officials in court last week, a federal judge couldn't fathom why Board President John Stroger & Co. didn't budget a major increase for new guards at the County Jail.

"The fact that there is nothing in this budget, as proposed so far today, to meet those staffing needs, can only be described as mind-boggling," huffed U.S. District Judge George Marovich. "Do you people ever talk to one another? ... There are some problems here, people, that need to be solved."

There are problems, all right. But Marovich is advocating the wrong remedy.

The sheriff's office needs a bigger payroll like Donald Trump needs a bigger ego.

The sheriff's office has a bloated, unaccountable patronage army. Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan wants even more people. Stroger has griped about those demands but hasn't forced Sheahan to run a more efficient operation.

Judge Marovich, who oversees a consent decree dealing with inmate population and staffing at the jail, thinks new guards would make the facility safer and more humane. There might have been a stronger argument for that a few years ago, when the jail population was soaring. But the world of the sheriff's office is changing.

Consider the trends:

- The average Cook County Jail population has dropped from more than 11,000 in 2002 to about 9,700 today.

- Crime in unincorporated Cook County, over which Sheahan has jurisdiction, has dropped by 28 percent since 1996.

- The unincorporated area patrolled by the sheriff's police has shrunk by 53 percent in the last six years, thanks to annexations by local towns. Cook County had about 160 square miles of unincorporated area in 1997. By 2004, the sheriff's unincorporated jurisdiction had shrunk to about 64 square miles.

- In 1991 the county had 11 uniformed patrol officers for every 10,000 residents in the unincorporated areas. Now it has nearly 26 officers per 10,000 residents.

- Between 1994 and 2004, the sheriff's budget swelled by more than $163 million, or 64 percent.

So the logical response is ... to dramatically expand the sheriff's payroll?

If the sheriff needs more jail guards, he can find them within his budget. According to Commissioner Michael Quigley, who has studied the sheriff's operations, hundreds of new guard positions could be created under the existing budget if the County Board forced the issue.

Sheahan could reallocate money and positions, run a more efficient operation and take advantage of opportunities to save millions of dollars. But he doesn't see it that way.

"We shouldn't have to rob from Peter to pay Paul," said Sheahan spokesman Bill Cunningham. "We're not going to take sheriff's police officers off the street to staff Cook County Jail."

No one is talking about risking public safety. Process serving and janitorial services could be outsourced at a savings. Jail overcrowding could be alleviated by placing more non-violent inmates on electronic monitoring at home. The county-run boot camp costs more than $7 million a year to run. Some of those folks could go to state boot camps.

"Just because you care about law and order, don't believe everything the guy with the badge says," Quigley said. "Otherwise, bring out your checkbook."

Judge Marovich has suggested he will hold board members in contempt if they don't come up with hundreds of new jail guards by late February. It will be a shock if Stroger and Co. work that fast.

No, they don't want to risk the judge's wrath, they don't want to be held in contempt of court.

But the answer isn't to hold the taxpayers in contempt.



Recent Headlines

Lincoln Speller Advances To Cook County Competition
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Journal Online

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County sheriff: Sex sting netted 79 would-be 'johns'
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Daily Herald

Preckwinkle: Restore state funding or we'll cut staff, services
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Daily Herald

Preckwinkle’s Office Briefs Board On Impact Of State Budget Stalemate
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
CBS Chicago WBBM

Centennial Volunteers project expands to four new sites
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

128 Cook County Jail Workers Called Out Sick on Super Bowl Sunday: Documents
Monday, February 08, 2016
NBC 5 Chicago

Cook County plans to complete high-speed Internet project in 2017
Friday, February 05, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Niles approves tax incentive for developer eyeing Lehigh Avenue property
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Pioneer Press

Mitchell: County commissioner says gun violence warrants a 'state of emergency'
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Opinion: Why police shooting cases need outside prosecutors
Tuesday, February 02, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail culinary training program receives MacArthur Foundation Award
Tuesday, February 02, 2016
Time Out Chicago

Jail inmates target female guards, lawyers with sexual abuse
Monday, February 01, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County sheriff announces jail consolidation
Friday, January 29, 2016
Daily Herald

Panhandlers collect $3K in court
Friday, January 29, 2016
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Forest Preserves of Cook County Joins Outdoors Empowered Network
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Jail Cooking Program Wins $50,000 MacArthur Award
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
DNA Info

Panhandlers battle in court over begging at Daley Plaza
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Jail isolates detainees because of flu-like symptoms
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Special Unit Searches for DCFS Runaways
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
WBEZ

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP