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Let sheriff take over Cook County Forest Preserve policing

Taxpayers must be reassured that their dollars are being used efficiently and that government is being held accountable.

Marilyn Guerrero was reported found and safe on Aug. 23, 2019.
State Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, proposes that the Cook County sheriff’s office take over the responsibilities of the county forest preserve police.

Last year, a woman in a Cook County forest preserve was harassed for wearing a shirt featuring the Puerto Rican flag. And video of the incident clearly showed that a forest preserve police officer failed to protect her.

This incident led me to become aware of a pattern of problematic behavior by the forest preserve police. Since then, I’ve learned about the department spending nearly double its original budget to acquire and develop land for new headquarters; and just recently we’ve learned that the forest preserve police mishandled a situation in which an individual illegally used handicap parking.

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All of this creates doubt as to whether the forest preserve police department is capable of protecting local residents. For that reason, I filed a bill earlier this year, House Bill 2297, that would consolidate the forest preserve police department into the Cook County sheriff’s office. Sheriff Tom Dart has said this could be done with minimal staffing expansion while saving taxpayers nearly $10 million.

Taxpayers must be reassured that their dollars are being used efficiently and that government is being held accountable.

State Rep. Fred Crespo
Assistant Majority Leader
Democrat, Hoffman Estates

Arroyo’s claim of ‘racial bias’ is baseless

Thank you for calling out Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. for his arrogance in getting a handicapped parking ticket dismissed for a friend. Arroyo says he was concerned only about “racial bias” — though a trainee working with the officer who issued the ticket is Latino. Arroyo’s claim is baseless. He played the race card when race wasn’t the issue.

I agree with the Sun-Times: investigate the investigator. And if no racial bias is found, Arroyo should resign from the county board.

Richard Barber, Mount Greenwood