Cook County Court Service Deputies

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By Tamara Cummings, General Counsel - Wednesday, July 19, 2017


CHICAGO – The proposed layoffs of Cook County Court Service Deputies will put public safety at risk, and the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council (ILFOP) contends the budget cuts are unnecessary because job levels in this critically understaffed area have already been slashed 11 percent over the last three years. Moreover, even though the budget shortfall is county wide, the bulk of the cuts so far have been to public safety personnel such as sheriff's police, court service deputies, corrections personnel, states attorneys and public defenders.

"The safety of judges, jurors, witnesses and victims who appear in court on a daily basis should not be used as a bargaining chip in a local government power struggle," said ILFOP Assistant Director Shawn Roselieb. "More and more offenders are being hauled into court as we work to cleanse our streets of violence, and this is the wrong time to reduce an already understaffed court security system."

The ILFOP represents Court Service Deputies and other employees of the Cook County Sheriff's Department. Court Service Deputies provide security in the courtrooms, public areas and offices of the county's judicial centers. They also include specialty units such as civil process that serve orders of protection, warrants, levies and eviction notices; the K9 unit; and the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program (SWAP). The ILFOP is responding to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's assertion that a number of Court Service Deputies must be laid off to make up for the loss of revenue from the county-wide soda tax. The tax, which helps fund certain Cook County services, has been blocked by a temporary restraining order.   

The number of Cook County Court Service Deputies has dropped from 1,110 in October 2014 to 989 in July 2017. There have been no court service training academy classes since 2006, which reduces the number of eligible candidates during the increasingly rare occasions when positions are filled. These reduced numbers mean deputies must often work multiple courtrooms at once, instead of having a minimum of one per courtroom.     

"Threatening the safety of taxpayers and the lives of hard-working employees is not a good budget negotiation strategy," Roselieb said. "It's time to stop the one-upmanship and protect law-abiding Cook County citizens from potential tragedies or expensive litigation."  
The Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council is a law enforcement union representing more than 11,600 professionals in more than 514 bargaining units who work in the criminal justice system. The Labor Council negotiates and enforces contracts and  improves salaries, working conditions, and benefits for law enforcement professionals throughout Illinois. Its members include police officers who work for municipalities, universities, and elected Constitutional officials; county sheriff’s deputies, correctional and court security officers; probation officers; 911 telecommunicators; law enforcement records personnel; and some related support staff.