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EDITORIAL: Cook, Lake county police cooperation makes us all safer

Wednesday, July 20, 2016
NW Indiana Times
by Editorial Board

Observers of Northwest Indiana’s past silo approach to government know all too well the detrimental effects of allowing municipal and county borders to stand in the way of communication and the common good.

In recent years, we’ve seen encouraging strides in local government agencies beginning to chip away at the figurative walls we build between our communities.

And the strengthening of a cooperative relationship between an Illinois and a Northwest Indiana sheriff is no exception.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and Lake County Sheriff John Buncich deserve our thanks for putting aside geographical boundaries in fighting the gang, gun and drug-related activity that can flourish in the shadows of jurisdictional short-shortsightedness.

The duo held a press conference last week, reasserting that a cooperative bond between the departments was being strengthened with more information sharing on the investigation into such crimes by both departments.

An initial cooperative effort between the departments, announced nearly three years ago, has led to a brighter spotlight on the flow of guns between the two states — weapons ultimately used in street crimes.

Increased scrutiny on the Lake County gun show, for instance, has been a byproduct of the cooperation.

 

Dart and Buncich said the departments’ street gang units have been cooperating on cases that have identified 2,000 gang members — including the arrest of leaders who moved from Chicago to public housing in Lake County.

“John (Buncich) and I have been working together for years, and it’s broken down a lot of barriers,” Dart said last week.

“Indiana is the No. 2 source of guns we find at our crime scenes in Chicago,” Dart said. “It’s stupid not to be aware of the fact gangs could care less about borders.

“As a matter of fact, they sort of like them because traditionally, jurisdictions don’t have the ability to cross borders.”

Congratulations to Dart and Buncich for kicking aside the imaginary territorial lines and attacking gangs, guns and drugs from both sides in concert.

Other Region government bodies on both sides of the state line should learn from this example.



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