Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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


  Office phone numbers:  

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


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

  The Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.

Report: Cook County anti-terror program wasted millions
$45 million system a technical bust, report says

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

Cook County wasted millions of dollars on an ultimately unworkable countywide security system during a seven-year span when the Strogers led county government, according to a new federal report.

From 2003 to 2009, the federal government reimbursed the county for about $45 million in costs paid out through Project Shield, which was supposed to share video, audio and text among the county and 128 suburban emergency agencies to improve response to disasters and terrorist attacks.

But the equipment worked so poorly, if at all, that new County Board President Toni Preckwinkle pulled the plug on Project Shield last summer.

"Millions of tax dollars may have been wasted on equipment that does not perform as intended," according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security inspector general report released Monday.

The report states that current county officials said "it appears highly unlikely that the installed equipment could be used effectively in an emergency situation." The county now is trying to salvage and reuse what it can to improve countywide security.

Homeland Security's inspector general audited the program during the first six months of last year, after Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Chicago, sought an investigation. When the report was released Monday, the two politicians called for a criminal probe.

Quigley, a former county commissioner, had long been critical of Project Shield, but he said Monday he was unable to get the federal government to look into it until he was elected to Congress. He praised Preckwinkle for turning off the federal spigot, but he remained critical of the administration of former Board President Todd Stroger, who replaced his ailing father, John, on the 2006 ballot.

"This project was a big waste," Quigley said. "Any government waste is horrific, but this is especially troubling because we're less safe, and there's alternative costs here. How many cops could you have hired for $45 million? Or FBI agents? Or equipment at the airport? Or additional screeners? All lost opportunities here."

Homeland Security's inspector general directed part of the blame at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its Illinois counterpart, saying they "did not adequately ensure that the state of Illinois effectively monitored Cook County's expenditures."

Equipment was installed in only 87 municipalities, and only 71 had mobile vehicle video systems, the report stated. Many of them did not work, it added.

Preckwinkle's administration last summer determined that in addition to not working, the $65,000 mobile cameras blocked air bags in police vehicles.

Suburbs that had stationary video cameras sometimes pointed them at parking lots and lobbies of police stations, streets or intersections because they weren't able to transmit the signal from more distant locations, the report stated.

As a result of compatibility issues, some police officers were unable to access criminal records, arrest warrants, license plates or vehicle registrations, it added.

"The equipment failed during extreme hot and cold temperatures, was not always targeted at the most critical infrastructure and at times prevented first responders from accessing databases need to perform their jobs," the report stated.

Todd Stroger defended his oversight of the program, saying initial problems were caused by the first contractor, which the county jettisoned. Later obstacles, caused by technical complexity and the number of agencies involved, were gradually being overcome, he said.

"I think that the program only doesn't work if you shelve it and throw it away," Stroger said. He said he wasn't worried about any criminal probe, saying, "I don't care about that either," because there's nothing for such an investigation to turn up.

Kirk and Quigley also called for the inspector general to look into whether it was appropriate for Todd Stroger to have had Project Shield equipment in his vehicle.

Preckwinkle does not have that equipment in her vehicle, a county spokeswoman said.

Recent Headlines

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

City considers landmarking old Cook County Hospital
Friday, March 01, 2019
Gazette Chicago

Judge: State constitution doesn't force Cook County to spend $250M more on roads, transport projects
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Cook County Rrecord

City Club of Chicago: Cook County Housing Authority Executive Director Richard Monocchio
Thursday, February 28, 2019
WGN Chicago

Illinois hospitals seek reform of Medicaid managed care system
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Effingham Daily News

Cook County Juvenile Court Clinic’s Annual Report
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Special to

Glenview open house a 'one stop service' for new, existing residents to learn about town offerings
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Glenview Announcements

all news items

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