Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart | File photo
Sheriff ramping up Chicago warrant arrests to quell violence
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart will focus on catching people wanted on arrest warrants for violent crimes in Chicago to help quell gun violence in the city, officials said Tuesday.
Dart’s office will also boost its supervision of criminal defendants who have been released from jail on electronic monitoring, said Cara Smith, executive director of the Cook County Jail.
Sheriff’s officers are being shifted from south suburban Robbins — where the sheriff has been concentrating on reducing violence — to the city of Chicago, Smith said.
“We will be focused on Chicago warrants — as opposed to countywide warrants — for some period of time,” she said. “We’re aware of crime trends. We respond accordingly.”
“We had manpower deployed in Robbins where they were struggling,” Smith said. “They are better.”
She added: “Our presence in the city is nothing new. The sheriff is looking at the crime in the city and wanted to make sure we are doing all we can with our resources.”
But Dart is not assigning his officers to patrol the streets of Chicago alongside Chicago Police officers, Smith noted.
Dart’s decision to concentrate on warrants in Chicago follows a violent Fourth of July weekend when 13 people were shot to death and dozens more were wounded by bullets — once again putting the city’s violence in the national news.
“The sheriff’s department will execute some of their regular warrant missions along with CPD fugitive teams, and will start doing so on a more frequent basis. CPD works very closely with our law enforcement partners, and we have been coordinating closely with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department on this effort,” a Chicago police spokesman said
Gov. Pat Quinn last week offered to send Illinois State Police troopers into the city to assist Chicago Police officers, but only if Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Supt. Garry McCarthy requested it.
So far, Emanuel and McCarthy haven’t asked.
Quinn made an identical pitch last year following a Back of the Yards shooting that left 13 people wounded by gunfire.
“No way, no how,” McCarthy told reporters at the time, turning down the offer. He also rejected the idea of the Illinois National Guard patrolling the streets of Chicago.
In 2008, now-convicted Gov. Rod Blagojevich made headlines with a proposal to send state police troopers into the city to fight crime. Then-Mayor Richard M. Daley mocked the suggestion. But Blagojevich went ahead with his plans to put 50 additional troopers on Chicago’s interstates near high-crime areas.