Provide Public Safety
Enhance the safety of residents through an integrated criminal justice system, including law enforcement and other programs that reduce crime, recidivism, family violence and substance abuse.
Lake County Court Expansion Project
Construction of the tunnel connecting the jail and existing courthouse is underway and is scheduled to be open this summer, which will allow for the demolition of the Pedestrian Bridge south of Washington Street, freeing the site for construction of the 8 story court tower. The entire project is expected to take five years to complete and will increase the efficiency of the justice system and support growth of the justice agencies for the next 30 years. Learn more about the.
Depke Juvenile Justice Center Expansion
Initial construction activity has started on this expansion project which includes a new multi-story addition with new courtroom/hearing rooms, administrative court support functions, and office spaces for the related justice agencies. The project is anticipated to be complete by fall 2017.
Problem Solving Court
A “Problem Solving Court” has become operational where the proceedings for specialty programs are all assigned to and heard by the same judge, allowing for cases to be streamlined and managed more efficiently. The programs include: Drug Court, Mental Health Court, and Veterans Treatment and Assistance Court, as well the specialized issues of Unfitness to Stand Trial and Restoration to Fitness, civil mental health commitments, and proceedings related to the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act and Sexually Dangerous Persons Commitment Act.
Lake County Sheriff's Office Gang Task Force
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Gang Task Force formed a partnership with local police, federal agencies, Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, and citizens. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Gang Task Force will investigate complaints regarding gang crimes that are driven from citizens, officer initiated activities in the community, policing strategies, community outreach programs schools and churches. The Task Force, in conjunction with Homeland Security, seized 55 Kilos of cocaine and $853,425 in one investigation. In a six month time period, the Task Force arrested 31 gang members. Seizures included cash, guns, cars and drugs.
Alternative Prosecution Program
Since fall of 2015, eight individuals have participated in the State’s Attorney Alternative Prosecution Program. Additionally, three are in the process to be accepted, and 2016 will see the first graduation. This program is for first time, non-violent criminal offenders who, in exchange for accepting responsibility for their criminal conduct, have the opportunity to keep a criminal conviction from being permanently entered on their record. A candidate is accepted after an interview, approval, and appearance before the State’s Attorney’s Citizen’s Panel to explain his/her offense and provide reasons why he/she deserves a second chance. Accepted candidates pay restitution, adjusted program fees and costs with zero additional cost to Lake County taxpayers. Defendants plead guilty to the charge, but sentencing is deferred. Upon successful completion of all program requirements, the State’s Attorney will vacate the plea and dismiss the charges of the criminal case.
Lake County Opioid Initiative
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office co-founded the Lake County Opioid Initiative (LCOI) to address the growing opioid epidemic facing most of the U.S., including Lake County. LCOI, the Heath Department and Sheriff’s Office collaborated to equip police first-responders with Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug. Since December of 2015, police officers in Lake County have saved over 50 lives.
Text-a-tip went live in September 2015, and received 100 unique users texting a total of 1297 texts through December 31, 2015. The greatest number of texts were received on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The most frequent texts were received from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Both English and Spanish speaking counselors are available to respond to texts. The greatest number of texts concerned bullying (non-cyber), anxiety, and suicide.
Knowledge is Power Program
The State’s Attorney’s Office 3rd annual “Knowledge is Power” program provided career insight of the criminal justice system to students to motivate them to pursue higher education, give back to their community through public service, and to consider the criminal justice profession as a potential career goal. The annual workshops help to educate middle school and high school students as to the phases of the criminal justice system and help them understand what is being done to protect the rights of victims and the due process rights of defendants. The students meet with a judge, tour the Lake County Jail, tour the State’s Attorney’s Office and can be interviewed by Lake County Television. Currently, the LCSAO’s Knowledge is Power Program holds partnerships with Mundelein High School’s Doors of Opportunity Relevant to Students (DOORS) program, Neal Math and Science Academy in North Chicago, and the Lake County High Schools Technology Campus. To date, 40 youth have been through this program.
Children’s Advocacy Comfort Dog
In 2015, the State’s Attorney’s Office welcomed Mitchell – a comfort dog – to its team. Mitchell, a two year old yellow lab, is a fully trained and accredited service dog donated to the State’s Attorney’s Office by Support Dogs, Inc. of St. Louis, Missouri. Mitchell’s primary responsibilities include working with child victims – both inside of the courtroom and out – to provide them with comfort, love, and companionship. Mitchell works at the Child Advocacy Center and started attending T.I.M. Court case management sessions, and court sessions in the fall of 2015. The State’s Attorneys’ Office is applying for an additional support dog. The new support dog’s duties will include continuing to be on the T.I.M. Courts team, and providing comfort and support for victims and witnesses being interviewed at the State’s Attorney’s Office.