SERVING THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED
I have numerous members of my family who have served or are currently serving in the United States armed forces. Throughout my 26-year career at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, whether in the field or at the courthouses, I encountered these heroes daily. I proudly treated our veterans with the respect, compassion, and empathy they have earned and deserve. Tragically, many of these fine men and women are thrown back into civilian life without an adequate support system that is necessary for their success. The assistance our veterans receive is grossly deficient and dismissed through failed programs and lack of funding. I am a servant leader at heart, and I believe my obligation is to serve those who have served.
This is my 3-point-plan to address the immediate needs of our service men and women:
The creation of a Veterans Response Unit comprised of three divisions:
A team of military veteran deputy sheriffs who respond directly for calls of service to other veterans in crisis or are experiencing other types of emergencies or tragedies. Once the situation has been resolved, the team that responded to the initial call will also be responsible for connecting the veteran and their families with public and private partner resources to create long-term solutions and care.
A team of military veteran deputy sheriffs who are assigned to the Cook County Veterans Treatment Court. As veterans enter Cook County’s criminal justice system, this team would be responsible for assisting them through the process which could include specialized housing and counseling services within Cook County Jail.
A team of military veteran deputy sheriffs who are assigned to provide support for Cook County Sheriff’s Office staff members upon their return from service or their family members while they are deployed.
The opening of five Cook County Sheriff’s Office
Community Outreach Centers located throughout the county. These centers would be a place
where veterans can find all private and public resources available to them, receive job training, résumé writing services,obtain dress clothes from donations, and sharpen their job interviewing skills.
Establish permanent relationships
Establish permanent relationships with shelters where beds will always be available for veterans who are experiencing homelessness or displacement.