Cook County Sheriff’s Office is exploring second station in River North, Chicago and state, alderman says

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CHICAGO (SCS) — Chicago Avenue and State Street; a troubled River North intersection lately, including a deadly mass shooting late last month.

The Cook County Sheriff wants to be part of the solution by moving into this crime-ridden area, according to a local councilman.

Only on 2, Tara Molina explains the new strategy.

Chicago police said they will keep a static post of officers at this location since the fatal shooting, and now they will be joined by another static post, with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office opening a new post there in the next two months, according to downtown Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd).

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A deadly shootout rocked the region in May, killing two and injuring seven.

If you’ve been here since, you’ve seen an increased presence of the Chicago police, as we’ve watched a continued increase in violent crime in the downtown core, especially here in River North, where we’re seeing lanes of made serious, aggravated batteries, felony sexual assaults and motor vehicle thefts to all time highs since 2015.

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The Cook County Sheriff’s Office moved into the neighborhood in January, to bolster law enforcement in the area in an effort to combat this crime. They opened a new command post in a building in Clark and Illinois in April.

“We got the memo and we added more and more resources,” Sheriff Tom Dart said.

A CPD spokesperson called the move “the latest example of our commitment to collaboration and community.”

River North is a mainstay of our central business district and a popular downtown destination.

  • And the benefits for the new PSAB office are exponential
  • Our downtown will see an increased presence of law enforcement.
  • The CPD and Cook County Sheriff’s Office will have expanded interagency communication.
  • And we will be able to streamline key initiatives to protect residents.
  • This new office is just the latest example of our commitment to collaboration and community.

Since April, sheriff’s police have made self-directed firearms and stolen vehicle arrests, responding to a downtown carjacking last week.

Since the end of April, they have carried out 182 roadside checks and 2,562 site checks. This is when agents proactively check businesses, residences and more.

River North Sheriff’s Police statistics from April 22, 2022 to June 14, 2022:

  • 2,562 site checks
  • 182 traffic stops
  • 125 Merchant Public Safety Commitments (this is to check with companies for safety concerns/transmission of information)
  • 85 aid to another agency
  • 53 foot patrols
  • 29 citizen helpers
  • 20 K9 assists another agency

But more specifically, they helped CPD respond to the violence in River North.

“We got guns, arrested people for these things, carjackings. We made carjacking arrests. And it was all done in unison with the Chicago Police Department and we’re seeing very positive results,” Dart said. “I have a lot of other areas that I need to cover, but to press areas where I think we have things covered pretty well and bring resources into areas where Chicago will tell me we could use a little more help and the data shows it.”

In a case in late April, a sheriff’s police officer responded to a shooting on the streets of Dearborn and Hubbard, able to provide first aid to the victim. In another case, in late May, on Chicago and Cambridge avenues, sheriff’s police assisted the CPD in responding to a shooting that injured people.

Firearms arrest:

  • On May 13, three men were arrested and charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon after two ghost pistols and a serialized firearm in a vehicle following a traffic stop with no visible record. None of the men in the car had a valid FOID or concealed carry permit. The stop happened near Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street.
  • On May 30, a 16-year-old was arrested for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon after a loaded firearm was recovered during a traffic stop in the 700 block of North State Street.

Stolen vehicle recovery/arrest:

“On June 3, Sheriff’s Police officers recovered a Ford Focus that had been reported stolen in Chicago. Sheriff’s Police officers located the vehicle in Wacker and Michigan. Officers stopped the stopped vehicle in Franklin and Randolph and arrested the driver. The driver and vehicle has been turned over to the CPD,” a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said.

CPD assistance:

  • On May 29, Sheriff’s Police assisted the CPD in a call for shots fired on Chicago Avenue and Cambridge Avenue in River North around 10 p.m. Officers learned that a woman had been shot while sitting in her vehicle. The CCSPD helped secure the scene and survey the area.
  • On May 11, Sheriff’s Police assisted the CPD in an incident involving 200-300 minors near North Avenue and Astor Street in River North.
  • On May 4, Sheriff’s Police officers, along with the CPD, responded to a large scuffle that occurred on the first block of West Ontario Street in River North at approximately 3:30 a.m.
  • On April 23, a sheriff’s police officer heard gunshots near Dearborn and Hubbard in River North. The officer was also pointed out by passers-by who said a man had been shot at 116 West Hubbard. Our officer responded immediately to the scene and requested further assistance. When the officer found a man with visible gunshot wounds to his right and left arm. Our officer applied a tourniquet to the victim’s left arm while the CFD applied one to the right arm.

“Our office responded to a June 10 carjacking as part of the Vehicle Hijacking Task Force, which includes the CPD, State Police and other agencies. The 71-year-old victim was victim of a carjacking on Chestnut Street. A minor was later taken to CPD to handle the arrest,” a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said.

“We speak with CPD many times, every day, and they have our radios. We have theirs. We talk to each other. We support each other. It’s a very, very well-integrated partnership,” Dart said.

With a planned move to an area covered by CPD, for a reason. The sheriff’s office is “exploring a second location” in River North and Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said it will be at Chicago and State.

Hopkins said the CPD is short of at least 2,000 patrol officers and the impact is felt throughout the city, so coordination with the sheriff’s office is especially helpful.

“They coordinate and work together in a spirit of cooperation and that ultimately serves the neighborhood much better,” he said.

Hopkins said we could see the opening of the new River North Sheriff’s Command Post this summer, with the sheriff’s office’s presence downtown making a difference that crime statistics can’t capture.

“Even uniformed personnel constantly coming and going creates that extra visibility, which can deter criminal activity,” he said.

Aldus. Brendan Reilly (42nd), whose neighborhood also includes parts of downtown Chicago, said, “Having the sheriff’s presence in River North has been a tremendous force multiplier.”

“They coordinate daily with city and state law enforcement on carjacking missions and have also assisted CPD in covering crime hotspots throughout downtown Chicago. Their presence and coordination with the CPD is greatly appreciated by downtown businesses and residents,” Reilly added.

A spokesperson for the River North Residents Association said they are extremely concerned about the spike in crime here, and while it’s too early to make a major difference, they say the work the County of Cook to help the DPC is encouraging and appreciated.

“We are very concerned about the recent criminal incidents in River North and have expressed the community’s frustration, anxiety and fear to both public safety and elected officials.

As we stated at the April 27 press conference, we are very excited about the opening of the new River North Command Center and very grateful for the efforts of Alderman Reilly and Sheriff Dart to make it happen. The work that deputies are doing to supplement and support DPC officers in the 18th District, the local connections that are being made and the increased law enforcement presence are all encouraging, but it is too early to say whether this has a material and lasting impact.

Like all Chicagoans, we hope for a safer summer for residents, businesses and visitors.”

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