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$50,000 BOND FOR MAN ACCUSED OF ARSON IN ORLAND PARK 04/18/12—

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012 — Sheriff's Police and members of eight south suburban police agencies worked together on an aggressive crime suppression effort along the Route 30 corridor, netting 64 arrests over the course of a week-long operation, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

The operation, which spanned along Route 30 from the Illinois/Indiana state line west to I-57, was coordinated by the Sheriff's Gang Crimes Task Force in an effort to curb violence and criminal activity in the communities along the bustling corridor. Aimed at making towns along the Route 30 thoroughfare safer, Sheriff's Police gang crimes unit brought together task force members coupled with an aggressive patrol strategy and truck, traffic and DUI enforcement to quell criminal activity in Chicago Heights, Ford Heights, Lynwood, Matteson, Park Forest and Sauk Village.

The operation kicked off on April 4th and culminated on April 13th, and involved specifically targeted operations from 6:00 A.M. until midnight each day. Overall, the operation netted 64 total arrests, 17 of which were serious felony offenses.

Additionally, officers seized over $50,000 worth of drugs, which included a large amount of cannabis, cocaine, prescription drugs, and ecstasy pills, along with numerous drug paraphernalia. False identification and fraudulent credit cards were recovered during one arrest, and over the course of the operation, 4 illegal firearms were recovered. Nearly $60,000 in fines were levied against cars and commercial trucks traveling down Route 30 by the Sheriff's truck, traffic and DUI enforcement team for infractions such as overweight cargo and other vehicle code violations.

"This operation is an excellent example of law enforcement agencies working together to keep an entire area safe, regardless of boundaries," said Sheriff Thomas J. Dart. "As Sheriff, I have a responsibility for the well-being of all citizens of Cook County, and take pride in our task force's ability to bring together officers from jurisdictions across the county in a united front against crime. This task force is a way for us to combine knowledge and resources that may be unavailable to some, and certainly strengthens us all."

Communities along Route 30 reported an instant improvement as a result of the operation. Because of the aggressive efforts of the 44 officers involved over the course of the operation, street corners that were previously hot spots of criminal loitering were cleared and replaced with quiet residential streets, as the community had originally intended them to be.

Chiefs from participating task force agencies dedicated incredible manpower to this important operation, which is especially notable considering the rampant short staffing many smaller suburban police departments are currently experiencing. "It is about time police pool their resources together and show the criminals that the south suburbs will no longer tolerate their nefarious activities," said Chief Michael Mears of the Lynwood police department, who took a lead role amongst the suburban police chiefs in the task force's operation. "It's about time we take a zero-tolerance stance against those who are a danger to all of our communities, all of our children."

Sheriff Dart established the gang crimes task force in 2009, and currently more than fifty municipalities across the county participate. The task force is open to all municipalities in Cook County, and all police chiefs are encouraged to participate in an effort to combat the spread of gangs into suburban areas.

Sheriff Dart would like to thank all of the agencies who participated in this task force effort, including Chicago Heights, Ford Heights, Matteson, Park Forest, and Sauk Village, as well as Crestwood, Glenwood, and Homewood who as task force participants dedicated manpower to the operation even though it was not in their specific areas. Additionally, Sheriff Dart would like to thank Lynwood Police Chief Mears for his lead role in this particular task force operation.

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