Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
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 first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



EDITORIAL: Don’t give Preckwinkle the easy way out in death investigations

Sunday, June 24, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times
by Editorial Board

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is wrong to try to water down an ordinance that demands on-the-scene investigations by the medical examiner’s office in cases of suspicious deaths.  


It’s not as if local law enforcement is doing a terrific job already of solving murders. This might only make the “clearance” rate worse. 

As Robert Herguth and Tim Novak of the Sun-Times first reported, medical examiner investigators have a poor track record of visiting scenes of suspicious deaths. So now Preckwinkle wants to rewrite the rules so they don’t have to. The county board should say no. EDITORIAL  

The focus should be on better compliance with the current ordinance that says the medical examiner or an appointed staff member “shall go to the location of the body and take charge” of the body, “and shall begin his/her investigation with an examination of the scene.” 

This dictate applies to all suspicious deaths, such as homicides, suicides and accidental deaths. A state law imposes pretty much the same requirements, and for good reason. The medical examiner needs all the facts to determine cause and manner of death, and the fact-finding should begin at the scene where a body is found. County officials have told the Sun-Times that their interpretation of the current ordinance doesn’t require investigators go to the scene. 

We have to disagree. The language of the law — beginning with that word “shall” — is pretty unambiguous. The new proposed ordinance would codify that going to the scene is at the “discretion” of the medical examiner.  

Money, not surprisingly, is driving this change. The county is looking at a shortfall of $82 million next year. But that can’t be a reason to gut professional standards. Rulings by the medical examiner matter greatly in police investigations. And the cops need all the help they can get.

Last year, Chicago Police solved only 17.5 percent of murders that occurred in 2017. When the medical examiner doesn’t send out investigators, the office must rely on the police to provide all the details. That leaves more room for mistakes. As we see it, the medical examiner, Dr. Ponni Arunkumar, needs to beef up the professional standards, not settle for less. Too much has already gone wrong. In February, Herguth and Novak reported that medical examiner investigators went to fewer than one of every five death scenes. 

In May, they reported that Arunkumar had to do an unprecedented review of cases overseen by a doctor who mishandled several cases, including a wrong ruling in a murder. There have been other questionable hires, including bringing on a former cop as an investigator after he was charged with shooting his fiancée in the legs. The FBI believes the medical examiner’s office wrongly ruled the 2015 death of off-duty Chicago Police Sgt. Donald Markham a suicide. The FBI believes Markham was murdered. We can’t see how loosening professional standards would be good for Cook County. 

People are getting away with murder enough as it is. 

 Send letters to: 
letters@suntimes.com.


Recent Headlines

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM COMMISSIONER SUFFREDIN
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Assessor’s Office Publicly Releases Residential Assessment Code and Models
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

EDITORIAL: Long in the MWRD pipeline, IG plan needs a yes vote
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Health Cuts Ribbon on Outpatient Center in Arlington Heights
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Celebrate Earth Day with the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Homeowners in Chicago have just a few weeks to get current on their 2017 property taxes - or risk losing their homes. WBEZ’s Odette Yousef reports.
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
WBEZ Chiacgo Public Radio

Editorial: The Foxx-Smollett questions for Inspector General Blanchard
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County pet owners warned of spring coyote dangers
Monday, April 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County inspector general to review prosecutors' handling of Jussie Smollett case
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Foxx requests Cook County IG investigation into handling of Jussie Smollett case
Friday, April 12, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A challenge to one of Chicago's biggest draws for companies
Friday, April 12, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

What Evanston's assessments tell us about the new assessor's new math
Friday, April 12, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

$3.85 million granted in lawsuit against ex-Cook County forest preserve worker charged in fatal on-the-job crash
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

A Day in the Life of a Cook County Burn Crew
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
WTTW News

EDITORIAL: Splitting up the region’s sanitation board is an idea that stinks
Monday, April 08, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawmakers Look To Keep 10-Year-Olds Out Of Jail
Thursday, April 04, 2019

Property Tax Workshops Help Homeowners Appeal Assessments
Wednesday, April 03, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Large crowds of Evanston residents turn out to appeal property tax assessments
Tuesday, April 02, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Family of slain cabbie accuses Cook County state's attorney's office of dodging FOIA request
Monday, April 01, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Property Tax Appeal Seminar Set For New Trier Township Residents
Monday, April 01, 2019
Journal and Topics Online

all news items

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