Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  

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 Cook County Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.

Controversial mug shot companies may have crashed sheriff’s website

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times

Controversial companies that vacuum mug shots from jail websites — then post them on their own websites and charge a hefty fee to remove them — might have contributed to the Cook County Sheriff’s inmate locator crashing, a sheriff’s spokesman said Tuesday.

The inmate locator serves the families and friends of nearly 12,000 people in the sheriff’s custody. The website, which is used to schedule visits, was sometimes crashing twice a week last year.

On Jan. 6, the sheriff’s office installed a “captcha” security tool on the inmate locator to prevent computer robots from gathering booking photos and other information from the website and overwhelming it.

“It was becoming an ordeal,” said Ben Breit, a spokesman for Sheriff Tom Dart. “It was because these ‘bots’ were overloading our systems. We had to do something about it. Obviously we don’t want people hacking in.”, one of the companies that posts booking photos, confirmed it uses computer robots to scrape data from the sheriff’s inmate locator.

“There is still data being collected from Cook County,” said Chase Johnson, a spokesman for the company, which he said is based outside the United States.

Johnson insisted the company’s robots weren’t crashing the sheriff’s website.

Breit said Cook County computer experts were unable to determine whether or similar companies have been gaining access to the sheriff’s inmate locator.

“There’s a possibility that the actions of sites like these were a contributing factor, but that’s not something we can prove,” he said.

To keep the heavily used website from crashing again, the sheriff’s office installed a security system that requires visitors to type a password of distorted letters and numbers. Humans can read the characters, which are designed to confuse computer robots.

But the security system hasn’t thwarted from obtaining data from the sheriff’s website, Johnson said.

“Any program can be written to get around anything,” he said. “I’m not saying that’s going to be done. I’m saying this is not a great solution for them.”

On, visitors can search for booking photos by name — or by categories such as celebrities, sports or gangsters. They also can view booking photos in the news. On Tuesday, the site featured two NFL players’ arrests. and similar companies have a business model that infuriates those whose booking photos are posted on their websites. They charge a fee to remove some photos — and refuse to delete others., for example, refuses to unpublish booking photos of people arrested for a violent felony — even if the case is later dismissed or the defendant is found not guilty, Johnson said. The company will remove other types of photos, such as those for nonviolent misdemeanors, for a fee, he said.

Johnson said provides a valuable service by allowing people to check out the backgrounds of others they might want to date or go into business with.

But in January, Pinellas County, Fla., Sheriff Bob Gualtieri reacted to the mugshot industry by taking booking photos off his “Who’s in Jail” site. He cited, and as the basis for his decision.

“After visiting myself I saw that citizens were being charged anywhere from $399 to $1,700 to remove their booking photos from just that one site [and] I decided that it is more than a rip-off — it is extortion,” Gualtieri said in a statement.

Dart will continue to post mug shots because “we have to have a certain measure of transparency,” Breit said. The photos are removed from the inmate locator whenever a detainee leaves the sheriff’s custody, he said.

Recent Headlines

Cook County Land Bank Authority Announces Opening of Registration to Give Away a Free Home
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
The Chicago Crusader

Friday, August 09, 2019
Illinois Policy

Top Cook County Jail chess players take on the world
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Public defender takes shots at Chicago Police gun offender webpage
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Commentary: Data alone won’t stop Chicago gun violence; Cook County needs a public ‘Violence Reduction Dashboard’
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Jail detainees take on inmates around the world in online chess tournament
Tuesday, August 06, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Here’s What You Need To Know About The Ongoing Bail Debate In Chicago
Monday, August 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Jail hosts international chess tournament
Monday, August 05, 2019
WGN Chicago

Cook County property taxes are due today, Aug. 1.
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Special to

Forest Preserves of Cook County Celebrate Dan Ryan Woods Investments
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Defender

Cook County TIFs generate $1.2 billion
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Changes coming to Cook County assessor’s office
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

In Chicago, TIF Revenues Soaring
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A controversial tax subsidy program will generate a record $1.2 billion in revenue. Here’s what the number means for Chicago.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Group to rally in support of Kim Foxx as challengers emerge
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Report: Incarceration Rates Drop Nearly 20% Under Kim Foxx
Monday, July 29, 2019
WTTW Chicago

Lightfoot blames bond court reform for gun violence
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Chicago Reporter

Cook County Health Hires Audit Firm To Review Scathing Inspector General Report
Thursday, July 25, 2019

Former County Commissioner Shocked Animal Abuser Registry He Worked To Create Was Never Used
Thursday, July 25, 2019
CBS Chicago

No one on County Board sharing Arroyo’s view of inspector general
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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