Police in three south suburban Chicago communities are getting a boost in manpower from their Cook County counterparts to help prevent future crimes.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has forged new partnerships with the mayors of Dolton, Harvey and Riverdale that provide for sheriff’s officers to conduct traffic stops in those areas while local police focus more on responding to emergencies and 911 calls.
Dart said crime has increased in these three suburbs in recent years and the local governments have been faced with budget challenges and police shortages.
“These towns don’t know when they’re going to have their big manpower issues or specific crime issues popping up that they’ll need us and so we just have to be very adaptive and we have been,” Dart said.
According to county records, there have been 16 homicides in Harvey, 6 homicides in Dolton and 5 homicides in Riverdale in 2019.
Harvey’s new mayor Christopher Clark told NBC 5 Investigates the extra law enforcement is a welcome sight.
“It’s not about ego and it’s not about pride. So at the end of the day you really want to do what’s best for your residents and so if this is what it takes, I’m all for it,” Clark said.
The partnership also allows for police departments to share information and trends with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
“The Riverdale Police Department plans to continue to work hand in hand with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department in several other areas besides just patrol,” said Riverdale Police Chief David DeMik.
Dolton Police Chief Ernest Mobley said the added visibility of law enforcement has led to a reduction in speeding drivers and violent crimes in his jurisdiction.
Sheriff Dart said he has had to “be creative” with diverting resources to share the officers with the three suburbs. A spokesperson said nothing has been added to the sheriff's budget specifically for the initiative.