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Editorial: Cook Bond Court Compromise

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

News of the proposed closing of weekend bond court in suburban Cook County was met with resistance from local police departments earlier this year. Even though the county was looking to save millions on the expense it takes to send prisoners through the system after arrest, one Journal-area police chief wasn’t wild about the burden being pushed to local law enforcement.

When news came down last week that Cook County Sheriff’s Police would assist area towns with transportation of prisoners to 26th & California on weekends and holidays, the concession was viewed as “not perfect, but better than the alternative,” said Prospect Hts. Police Chief Jamie Dunne. The alternative for Dunne, for instance, would have been to hire two more police officers and pay overtime to transport those jailed in Prospect Hts. to Cook County court on Chicago’s west side to appear before a judge on whatever charges may have been leveled. Other towns were facing similar dilemmas.

Starting May 12, municipalities in county court districts 2 and 3, serving the Northwest suburbs, can begin dropping off inmates at the Skokie courthouse on weekends and holidays for transit to Chicago to complete the arrest and bonding process. It’s a mild win for local police departments who would have had to spend time, money and fuel to take their own prisoners to 26th & California. And it’s a win for county, which will keep bond court closed on weekends and holidays at its circuit branches including Rolling Meadows and Skokie. Now, rather than driving 30 to 40 miles to Chicago, area officers will only be required to drive 10 to 20 miles for prisoner drop-off in Skokie.

It’s nice to see a compromise in tough times, especially between mighty Cook County and its smaller units of government in the suburbs. For Dunne, hope remains that eventually bond court reopens in Rolling Meadows and Skokie. For residents and government alike, it’s another layer in the waiting game of economic recovery.

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