Affirm law enforcement officer status for Cook County Corrections Officers.

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According to the following state statutes deputies of a sheriff are law enforcement officers.

(55 ILCS 5/3‑6015)(from Ch. 34, par. 3‑6015)
    Sec. 3‑6015. Powers of deputies.  Deputy Sheriffs, duly appointed and qualified, may perform any and all the duties of the sheriff, in the name of the sheriff, and the acts of such deputies shall be held to be acts of the sheriff.  (Source: P.A. 86‑962.)

(55 ILCS 5/3‑6021)(from Ch. 34, par. 3‑6021)
    Sec. 3‑6021. Conservator of the peace.  Each sheriff shall be conservator of the peace in his or her county, and shall prevent crime and maintain the safety and order of the citizens of that county; and may arrest offenders on view, and cause them to be brought before the proper court for trial or examination.  (Source: P.A. 89‑404, eff. 8‑20‑95; 90‑593, eff. 6‑19‑98.)

Federal statute gives the following definition of a law enforcement officer.

Public Law 108-277:

(c) As used in this section, the term `qualified law enforcement officer' means an employee of a governmental agency who--

(1) Is authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of, or the incarceration of any person for, any violation of law, and has statutory powers of arrest;

(2) Is authorized by the agency to carry a firearm;

(3) Is not the subject of any disciplinary action by the agency;

(4) Meets standards, if any, established by the agency which require the employee to regularly qualify in the use of a firearm;

(5) Is not under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance; and

(6) Is not prohibited by Federal law from receiving a firearm.

The ILETSB (Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board) apparently feels that deputies at the Cook County Department of Corrections are not law enforcement officers because of a lack of training in certain aspects of law enforcement.  An officer who enforces a wide range of laws or a narrow range is still a law enforcement officer.

(720 ILCS 5/2‑13)(from Ch. 38, par. 2‑13)

 Sec. 2‑13. "Peace officer". "Peace officer" means (i) any person who by virtue of his office or public employment is vested by law with a duty to maintain public order or to make arrests for offenses, whether that duty extends to all offenses or is limited to specific offenses, or (ii) any person who, by statute, is granted and authorized to exercise powers similar to those conferred upon any peace officer employed by a law enforcement agency of this State.

(50 ILCS 710/1)(from Ch. 85, par. 515)
    Sec. 1. Definitions. As used in this Act:
    (a) "Peace officer" means (i) any person who by virtue of his office or public employment is vested by law with a primary duty to maintain public order or to make arrests for offenses, whether that duty extends to all offenses or is limited to specific offenses, and who is employed in such capacity by any county or municipality or (ii) any retired law enforcement officers qualified under federal law to carry a concealed weapon.

The officers at the Cook County Department of Corrections meet the criteria set forth by all of the above statutes and yet the ILETSB and Sheriff Dart refuses to acknowledge that they are law enforcement officers.  If, as the ILETSB and Sheriff Dart suggests, they are not law enforcement officers then they would have no authority or obligation to enforce the law or intervene in any criminal act as they have for decades.

I request that you, the ILETSB and Sheriff Tom Dart, either

(1)    Explain why and how you can undermine state and federal statute.

(2)    Clarify publicly in writing the law enforcement authority and obligations of Cook County Corrections Officers, as without this clarification they can not have full confidence in their authority or obligation to act when encountering a criminal act.  Lack of such confidence could cause some hesitation to act, which could possibly lead to dire consequences for the victim(s) of the crime or the officer(s).

Or, that you officially recognize and affirm that Cook County Department of Corrections deputies are law enforcement officers.



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