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Cook County Sheriff's Police History

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The Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department originated May, 1931 under Sheriff James Kinzie.

In the late ‘30s and early ‘40s, suburban vehicular traffic increased. Named Highway Deputy Sheriffs at the time, officers started patrolling on motorcycles, similar to today’s policing method.

In 1952, the department was renamed to Cook County Police and wore the uniform known as the “Tombstone Patch.” That same decade, patrol transitioned onto vehicles and operated an ambulance and towing service. In the ‘60s, the color of the squad cars changed from black and white to entirely white, like the vehicles today.

The department image was revamped in 1962 under Sheriff Richard Ogilvie. He changed the uniform from blue to brown and upgraded to a shield-shaped patch over both shoulders. In the late ‘70s, Ogilvie updated to the current patch with the Cook County flag on the uniform’s right shoulder.

Sheriff Joseph Woods’ administration, between 1966 and 1970, drafted the first quadrennial report for the police department. The report showcased the agency’s accomplishments, forecasted departmental changes (e.g. need to grow personnel), and offered recommendations on pay scale, equipment acquisition and the creation of a communications center, suggestions adopted by his successor Sheriff Richard Elrod.

Under Sheriff Michael F. Sheahan’s direction in the ‘90s, the department increased productivity by dispersing the district stations to Bridgeview, Markham, Rolling Meadows and Skokie, facilitating resource access for nearby patrolmen and increasing the department’s visibility in the community.

The current Sheriff, Thomas J. Dart, has orchestrated a number of initiatives since 2006 when he was sworn-in.

With the collaboration of law enforcement agencies from around the country, he leads the semi-annual National Johns Suppression Initiatives, where police target buyers shopping for sex.

In a joint-effort with the Chicago Police Department, the Street Crimes Suppression Unit is working to reduce violence and the number of illegal guns in the city’s most crime-prone wards.

In addition to patrolling unincorporated Cook County, Sheriff’s Police is Ford Height’s primary and only law enforcement agency. Sheriff Dart’s vision continues to remind the community that law enforcement is invested in the community it serves.


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