Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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:  
   
 
 

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

   
 

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

   
  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



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

Preckwinkle, Evans end budget battle
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Troubled detainee at center of unusual court fight between Loyola hospital, Cook County
Monday, July 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners Confounded by Hiring of Health System Consultant
Monday, July 16, 2018
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Doctor fired by Cook County medical examiner now under the microscope in Indiana
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County officials defend Forest Preserves police in wake of man harassing woman over Puerto Rican flag shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Berrios' analysts used Zillow, other shortcuts in assessing property values, documents show
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Northbrook to revisit Cook County paid sick leave policy after opting out last year
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Forest Preserves officials discuss officer's resignation
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and governmental truck
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Transformation in the outdoors
Friday, July 13, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Forest preserve cop resigns after apparently failing to help woman being harassed over Puerto Rico shirt
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

5 things: A civics lesson on Puerto Rico after man rants about woman's flag T-shirt, questions citizenship
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners: Get Rid of Forest Preserve Police
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Schneider wants hearing over fatal crash blamed on Cook forest preserve driver
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Daily Herald

Man who harassed woman for Puerto Rican flag shirt charged with hate crime
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WLS ABC 7 Chicago

EDITORIAL: A judge drops a gun on a courthouse floor. So much for respect for the law
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest preserve officer who didn't help woman in Puerto Rican flag shirt 'tarnished the whole department,' commissioner says
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle apologizes to woman berated by man at forest preserve for wearing Puerto Rican flag shirt
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Video appears to show forest preserves officer failing to help woman being harassed for wearing shirt with Puerto Rican flag design
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

all news items

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