Sheriff Tom Dart of Cook County, Ill., (the jurisdiction that includes Chicago) is frustrated at the number of violent offenders who are caught illegally using firearms and quickly released. In order to do what he can to keep the worst bad guys off the streets, Dart will have his office begin notifying local police when suspects are released after paying high-dollar bails.
The idea is to facilitate police surveillance of individuals who are likely to be chronic violent offenders with gang affiliations. “Gang members arrested on gun crimes can quickly come up with thousands of dollars—often tens of thousands of dollars in cash—to get out of jail and return to the communities they continue to terrorize,” Dart said in a statement reported by the Chicago Tribune. “We should be using the laws on the books to find out where they are getting that kind of money. This shows how our broken cash bail system permits violent offenders to return to the streets within hours while many of those who are poor are stuck behind bars on non-violent crimes.”
Dart has also requested that the Cook County State’s Attorney investigate the source of money that defendants use to post bail, given that 79 percent of defendants in cases involving firearms do so in cash.