WANTED FUGITIVES NOW SEARCHABLE
ON SHERIFF’S WEBSITE
Friday, August 12, 2011
—Information on thousands of people wanted for everything from murder and robbery to writing bad checks or failing to pay child support is now available online, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Friday.
Visitors to www.cookcountysheriff.com can now find a pair of links that allows for searching by the name or last known location of anyone with an active Cook County warrant for their arrest. It is the same basic information fugitive investigators use to begin a search for a wanted person and Sheriff Dart hopes it leads to a wave of anonymous tips that helps investigators take violent fugitives and other wanted persons off the streets.
The “Fugitive Warrants” link provides information on nearly 44,000 people who have active warrants issued for their arrest by a Cook County criminal court judge. The “Child Support Warrants” link delivers information on almost 1,000 parents wanted for failing to comply with court orders associated with financial support for their children. The information available to the public includes a person’s name and last known address.
Those wanted on “Child Support Warrants” also have pictures if they have a prior criminal history. Pictures of those under “Fugitive Warrants” are in the process of being uploaded. Because fugitive investigators and other law enforcement officials arrest wanted persons on a daily basis, the information is constantly evolving and the public search engines are updated every week.
“We’re always looking for new and better ways to interact with concerned citizens and to make it easier for them to help our officers,” Sheriff Dart said. “Putting this information online empowers everyone to provide anonymous tips that will help us get violent people off the streets and make sure other wanted subjects are held responsible for their actions.”
Information about wanted subjects can be anonymously provided to investigators by calling 708-865-4902 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Putting fugitive information online comes just weeks after Sheriff Dart announced a roundup of deadbeat parents centered around Father’s Day. That effort netted 80 men wanted on child support warrants who owed their children a total of $1.8 million. But in announcing those results, Sheriff Dart also asked for the public’s help in finding even more of the men and women wanted for failing to support their families.
That effort has led to the arrests of 34 more parents owing nearly $1 million. Four of those additional arrests came as a direct result of concerned citizens going onto the sheriff’s website and anonymously providing information about the location of those still wanted.
Sheriff Dart also solicits the public’s help in tracking down fugitives via a pair of televised “most wanted” programs and with a regular rotation of fugitives being featured prominently on the sheriff’s website homepage.
That effort has netted several more arrests – including the summer apprehension of Jeremy Mitchell, a high-ranking Ford Heights gang member wanted for firing a shot at a rival but instead striking an innocent woman nearby. Anonymous tips also led to the recovery of an 18-year-old endangered runaway from Zion – wanted on two warrants - who had also been listed in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website since 2009.
Sheriff Dart is hopeful that increased access to public information about fugitives will result in a reduction in the backlog of warrants now occupying investigators’ daily workload.
Of the roughly 44,000 fugitive warrants available online, sheriff’s office staff have been able to develop maps showing the last known address locations for about 26,000. Other warrants contain incomplete address data or the subject’s last known address wasn’t known when the warrant was issued. But Sheriff Dart expects that information to be investigated and updated at a pace of about 3,000 warrants a month – meaning by next spring, all fugitive warrants will be updated and, when addresses are known, able to be mapped.
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