Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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.

   
  Cook County was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.
   
     
     
     



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

County forest preserves celebrating 100 years
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
The Beverly Review

2 former Cook County Jail inmates become tutors at Literacy Chicago
Monday, August 31, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Did Cook County Animal Control investigation go deep enough?
Friday, August 28, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Dart to Rauner: Pay to train cops to deal with mentally ill
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Rauner signs 'Rocket Docket' law to reduce some jail stays
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

New law limits bail profits Cook County can take from poor
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
WBEZ

Rauner Signs Bills That Impact the Black Community
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Chicago Defender

Panel: County gambling machine tax is fair game
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Judge denies injunction to Backpage.com in legal victory for Dart
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Rauner signs "Rocket Docket" law to reduce some jail stays
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Federal judge says Backpage.com is full of prostitution ads
Monday, August 24, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Appellate court upholds Preckwinkle's slot machine tax
Monday, August 24, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County rethinks strategy as Obamacare pushes outpatient care
Monday, August 24, 2015
Crain's Chicago Business

Judge nixes release of sheriff’s deposition video
Friday, August 21, 2015
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: Sheriff Dart should hand his fight against sex trade to the feds now
Friday, August 21, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: A plea for help in Harvey
Friday, August 21, 2015
Chicago Tribune

County audit: Missing pets rarely reunited in animal services 'maze'
Friday, August 21, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Cog Hill, Gleneagles at center of land dispute
Friday, August 21, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Commissioner Robert Steele, Cook County Commission on Women and YWCA host a panel on wage discrimination
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Special to suffredin.org

Northbrook official: New Red Seal plans abandon easements
Monday, August 17, 2015
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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