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SHERIFF DART ENHANCES SECURITY AT CRIMINAL COURTS BUILDING

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011 —Recent security assessments conducted by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office have led to changes in operations which – while taking into account manpower shortages due to budget constraints – provide enhanced security and improved efficiencies of procedures at Central Bond Court in the Criminal Courts Building, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

There should be no noticeable impact on visitors to the building at 26th and California, as all changes involve the flow of detainees and staffing restructuring.
On average at least 100 defendants appear every day for bond hearings in the criminal courts building. With no new deputies budgeted to be hired in the last five years, Sheriff Dart called on his newly created Office of Policy and Accountability to conduct a thorough review of courthouse operations, call times and deployment of staff. OPA, made up of re-assigned existing staff, was created to improve operations through careful analysis, identification of best practices and development of plans to achieve those best practices.

OPA’s findings were forwarded earlier this year to senior-level staff from the Cook County Sheriff’s Court Services Department, who worked with other agencies involved in court operations to better coordinate processing times and staffing shifts. Utilizing existing available deputies, those court services staff then instituted new measures aimed at better securing busy courtrooms, while also ensuring protection to the public, staff and building.

The changes, which will place no additional burden upon taxpayers, are the first step in an ongoing review of all operations at Cook County courthouses in Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Maywood, Bridgeview, Markham and in Chicago.

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