Kankakee County Criminal Justice Committee Feb. 15.
Kankakee County - Criminal Justice Committee met Feb. 15.
Here is the minutes provided by the Committee:
Mr. Byrne, Mr. Hess, Mr. Washington, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Snipes, Mr. Sirois, Ms. Evans,
Mr. Payton, Ms. Dunbar, and Ms. Parker
Mr. Tholen, Mr. Stauffenberg, Mr. Vickery, and Mr. Skutt
Bob Gessner, Kevin Duval, Jim Rowe, Sandi Cianci, Tom Latham, Gus Regas, and Brian Gadbois
1. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by the Committee Chairman, Mr. Byrne, at 7:30 a.m.
2. Public Comment-Mayor Hodge of Hopkins Park
Mayor Hodge commented on the Intergovernmental Agreement with Pembroke Township for Policing with the County Sheriff Department.
3. Approval of Minutes (Court Services) - none
Approval of Minutes (Public Safety): May 19, 2016
Mr. McConnell made a motion to approve the Public Safety minutes, and Mr. Sirois seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Approval of Minutes (Criminal Justice): January 11, 2017
Ms. Parker made a motion to approve the Criminal Justice minutes, and Ms. Dunbar seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
4. Judicial – Chief Judge Michael Kramer
Chief Judge Kramer was not present.
5. Circuit Clerk’s Office - Sandi Cianci
Mr. Washington made a motion to approve the monthly report, and Ms. Evans seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Ms. Cianci reviewed and discussed the report with the committee.
Ms. Cianci stated that she is still working on e-filing for state mandate and integrating the program with CourtView. The program will be ready to go around November or Criminal Justice
December, in time for the January 1st requirement. The date for the e-appeals requirement is July 1st.
Mr. Wheeler asked if Ms. Cianci had determined what she is going to do as far as where the stations will be for people to do the e-filing.
Ms. Cianci stated that they will need to be in her office because people will need to be helped by the clerks. She doesn’t think it would be a good thing to have the stations out in the rotunda because it is so noisy out there already.
Mr. Wheeler asked if Ms. Cianci if she could attend the next Highways and Buildings Committee Meeting to discuss this further.
Ms. Cianci stated that she would be there.
6. Public Defender’s Office-Gus Regas
A motion to approve the reports was made by Mr. Snipes, and seconded by Mr. Sirois. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Mr. Regas reviewed and discussed the report with the committee.
Mr. Snipes asked what the caseload ratio is for attorney to client.
Mr. Regas stated that there is no set caseload, but there are American Bar Association recommendations. They suggest that a part-time public defender handle 75 felonies, 200 misdemeanors, or 100 juvenile cases a year. They try to work within the guidelines, but they are underpaid and overworked so they exceed that number.
Mr. Snipes asked if they have they exceeded the American Bar Association recommendations.
Mr. Regas stated that for the year, they are right at them. In the last two years, they have had an additional 170 felonies, so they may need additional personnel.
Mr. Wheeler asked if there was anyone else that could sit with inmates in jail while they watch videos and read documents so the public defenders could spend more time in court.
Mr. Regas stated that he does not have anyone to send to the jail to let the client look at their file, but he needs someone. As of now, with his current budget, that is not possible. It would not be a full time position, but 15 hours a week, at $14-$15 an hour. It would cost the county $10,000 a year and would have no health care or pension costs. It’s a waste of resources to have the public defenders spend their time at the jail.
Mr. Snipes asked if they could use a paralegal internship with the KCC paralegal students to go to the jail.
Mr. Regas stated that he thinks it would be a waste for the paralegals to go to the jail. The State’s Attorney’s office has 4-5 paralegals, and the public defender has 0. They have 2-3 interns from KCC and Olivet, and they do interesting work with the public defenders. He does not want to send the interns out to the jail to sit and read magazines.
Mr. Wheeler stated that he would much more prefer that a student go out to the jail and read magazines than a public defender.
Mr. Regas stated that they do have students that go out to the jail to get information for bond motions, interview clients, and help in preparation of the initial case progression, but to send them out to sit and do nothing but homework or a read a magazine would get very boring. It would be better to hire someone who knows what the job is going to consist of when they take it.
7. Probation Department –Tom Latham
A motion to approve the report was made by Mr. Hess, and seconded by Mr. Washington. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Mr. Latham reviewed and discussed the report with the committee.
Ms. Evans asked how much time the 109 unsuccessful contacts represents.
Mr. Latham stated that it really depends on where they are located. The further away they are the more time it takes. The number of unsuccessful contacts increased because the overall number of contacts increased after the reorganization of the office and hiring to full staff levels.
Mr. Wheeler asked about that status of the grant and aid money from the state of Illinois.
Mr. Latham stated that he has not heard anything, but he is going to Bloomington tomorrow for a meeting. They have not received anything since July. He has talked with Iroquois county, and other counties around the state are in the same situation.
Mr. Hess asked how the new instant drug testing is going.
Mr. Latham stated that the mouth swab is good for everything except marijuana, and is especially helpful out in the field.
Mr. Snipes asked if there has been an instance where someone on probation has a medical marijuana card and would be exempt from testing for marijuana.
Mr. Latham stated that they have not come across someone like that, but it will happen, and the individuals should have the correct paperwork when that happens.
Mr. Latham stated that at the last meeting, he reported that Drug Court would be moving from Friday mornings to Thursday afternoons. It’s back on Friday mornings again, and Veteran’s Court will be on Thursdays in the late morning.
8. State’s Attorney’s Office – Jim Rowe
Grand Jury Report
Mr. Rowe reviewed and discussed the report with the committee.
Ms. Dunbar made a motion to approve the report, and Mr. Snipes seconded it.
Motion carried with a voice vote.
Collections Process Update
Mr. Rowe stated that they have met with Harris & Harris to discuss the exact number of outstanding debt. There is $26 million in outstanding debt that has been placed with Harris & Harris. Of that amount, about $21 million is split between traffic and felony cases. There is $11.9 million in outstanding traffic debt, and $8.8 million in outstanding felony debt. About 70% of the traffic debt predates 2009, so it is more than 7 years old. That makes it more difficult to collect and limits the avenues that are available. There is $3.8 million in traffic debt that is less than 7 years old. Felonies are hardest to collect, as 94% of the $8.8 million predates 2009. That leaves $507,000 that is less than 7 years old.
There is $4.3 Million that is less than 7 years old and is therefore most likely to be collected. The remaining $5 million of the $26,000 turned over to Harris & Harris is attributable to DUIs, misdemeanors, and ordinance violations.
Mr. Snipes asked if there was some type of amnesty, as an incentive to pay, that could be implemented on debts more than 7 years old.
Mr. Rowe stated that by statute they do not have the authority to diminish a court’s judgement. For many of the judgements that are entered by a court, the fines are set by a statute. They have very little leeway in negotiating a court’s judgement. They can sometimes negotiate for a diminishment of the interest, but most of the uncollected debts have not had the 9% statutory interest added to them. Harris & Harris will start litigation in
March for the debts, and then give notice to people that in May they will start to add the 9% interest, so that may be an incentive to pay.
Mr. Sirois asked why there is a limit on the collection process after 7 years.
Mr. Rowe stated that the debts cannot be placed into IDROP after 7 years, so it makes them harder to collect. The person has to voluntarily pay. They cannot do a wage garnishment or file liens for debts that are more than 7 years old.
Mr. Byrne asked if a hold could be put on a person’s driver’s license if they have outstanding debt in a traffic case.
Ms. Cianci stated that they send a 45-day notice out, and if the debt is not paid on the 46th day, they send a report to the Secretary of State and the license gets a hold put on it. The hold is applicable nationwide, not just in Illinois.
Mr. Rowe stated that you can attribute $1.2 million of the debt to just 8 felony cases. In some felony cases, there are fines upwards of $1.5 million dollars, so the likelihood of collecting the debt is minimal. He told Harris & Harris he wants to see better results over a
6 month period, so they will evaluate in July if additional efforts to collect debt have been fruitful.
Approval of Whistleblower Ordinance
Mr. Rowe stated that the county does not have any protections in place for an employee that would come forward and report fraud, abuse, or waste. It is pretty standard, and most counties have an ordinance like this in place.
Financial Crimes Taskforce
Mr. Rowe stated that he, along with Lori Gadbois, have created a financial crimes taskforce. The taskforce involves representatives from real estate, banks, and senior service providers. They will discuss fraudulent activity they see in their specific industries and how they can get the message out to the public. The taskforce will cover everything from phone scams to property fraud scams.
Approval of Ordinance Authorizing the Recorder’s Fraud Referral and Review
Process and Establishing Fines for the Unlawful Clouding of Title Mr. Rowe stated that if an individual files fraudulent documents at the Recorder’s office, they don’t want to have to wait for years of litigation for the person to have the cloud taken off of their title, so this ordinance would allow the recorder to do something about it, such as go into court and refer it to the State’s Attorney’s office for investigation. Mr. Washington made a motion to approve the ordinance, and Ms. Parker seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Updated Approach to Gang Violence Prosecution
Mr. Rowe stated that they are working with local law enforcement agencies and the Sheriff’s Department to ensure that when suspected gang members are arrested, their gang affiliations and the basis for that knowledge is noted in the report. This allows for filing of more serious charges, a higher class felony, or to get more serious sentencing. They are working with probation to ensure that when someone is convicted in connection with gang activity, some terms of their probation would be that they are not allowed to associate with other gang members.
Legislative Updates-Asset Forfeiture
Mr. Rowe stated that the legislature has taken up two bills that would eliminate drug forfeitures. Local law enforcement receives 2/3 of the proceeds, and KMEG (Kankakee Metropolitan Enforcement Group) is funded in full by the asset forfeiture dollars. He urges the members to speak with legislators and state senators to ask them to consider voting against the bills.
Mr. Sirois asked what the logic behind these bills is.
Mr. Rowe stated that the ACLU and the IPI, a conservative think tank, are involved in this. They cite Constitutional claims and revenue issues. He would rather have the drug dealers pay for law enforcement than the taxpayers. Those in the middle want to sweep those funds, so instead of sending them to local agencies, they would be sent to Springfield and divided up there.
Resolution Regarding Amendment to Children’s Advocacy Center Fee
Mr. Rowe stated that for every misdemeanor and traffic offense the county collects $20, which is remitted to Children’s Advocacy Center, a place where sexual assault victims go to be interviewed. They are underfunded, so he is asking the fee be increased to $30 per conviction and include felonies.
Mr. McConnell asked what the limit is.
Mr. Rowe stated that the limit is $30, per state statute.
Mr. Hess made a motion to approve the Resolution Regarding Amendment to Children’s Advocacy Center Fee, and Ms. Dunbar seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Ordinance Creating Section 42-32 of the Kankakee County Code-Curfew
Mr. Rowe stated that local municipalities have curfew ordinances, but they need a curfew ordinance for the unincorporated areas. The ordinance has set hours, and the hours were determined after a survey of all local municipalities’ curfew ordinances and a review of Will County’s ordinance. There are exceptions in there, but it then leaves it up to the discretion of the deputy.
Ms. Parker made a motion to approve the ordinance, and Mr. Hess seconded it.
Motion carried with a voice vote.
Mr. Wheeler stated that they need to reactivate the ethics commission, as it has not been active for some time, and they have members that do not live here anymore. The commission would have three members.
Mr. Rowe stated that the commission would review all allegations of fraud or waste, received either through the State’s Attorney Office, the Auditor, or the department head.
The commission would do an internal investigation. The State’s Attorney’s office would handle the criminal investigation portion.
Mr. Wheeler asked who could be nominated. Is it just county board members, community members, or a mix of both?
Mr. Rowe stated that he would have to look into that, but it would be a good idea to have people outside of the county board on the committee, as there is a potential an allegation could be against a board member.
9. Coroner’s Office – Bob Gessner
Monthly Receipts of Money
Mr. Snipes made a motion to combine and approve the monthly reports, and Mr. Payton seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Mr. Gessner reviewed and discussed the reports with the committee.
He stated that there is a new drug in the county, acrylfentanyl, a derivative of fentanyl. It’s not new on the market, but is easier to get, as it is sold online or by mail order, and lasts longer. It is also harder to detect, so it incurs extra lab costs. Also, acetyl fentanyl has made a resurgence and is also very strong.
Mr. Gessner stated they have trained 95% of officers in the community on Narcan.
Mr. Gessner presented Liz DeLong, who is an RN and trauma emergency coordinator for Riverside, and Al Ponton, who is an RN and manager of EMS ambulance at Riverside and nurse, with awards in recognition for ongoing commitment and dedication to the Narcan program.
10. Sheriff/EMA Department – Sheriff Mike Downey
Motion to approve and file the monthly report was made by Mr. Snipes, and seconded by Mr. McConnell. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Sheriff Downey was not present. Chief Ken McCabe reviewed and discussed the report with the committee.
Annual Report 2016
Chief McCabe stated that the report is ready, but the Sheriff will review it with the committee next month.
Authorizing the County Board Chairman or His/Her Designee to Sign an Intergovernmental Agreement with Pembroke Township for Policing with the County Sheriff Department
Authorizing the County Board Chairman or His/Her Designee to Sign an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Village of Hopkins Park for Policing with the County Sheriff Department
Chief McCabe explained basically what these intergovernmental agreements would do.
The advantage would be that a car would be designated to certain areas, such as Citgo, to deal with issues that are happening there, and hopefully make it known that the police are present. There will definitely be a huge increase in patrol for the area.
Mr. Payton asked how the intergovernmental agreement will work, if there is a guarantee that there will be adequate policing for the area in order to fulfill the contract.
Chief McCabe stated that they contract for a certain amount of hours. When the car is contracted, the car is targeted for that area and assigned to that area. A lot of communities, especially out west, contract Sheriff’s departments to be their police departments.
Mr. Wheeler stated that he needs to know what the financial arrangement is before approving this.
Mr. McConnell made a motion to move the authorization to the Finance committee, and Mr. Payton seconded it. Motion carried with a voice vote.
Chief McCabe stated that the agreement allows them to be proactive instead of reactive, as it is now.
Mr. Wheeler stated that he agrees. They are committed to patrolling and policing the rural communities. That’s why they are asking for a 25 cents per $100 sales tax increase on a temporary basis in order to cover those costs. They have to look at it from a financial perspective. They have to police the area, but they still have to do all the other things the county has to do. He stated that 80% of the funds are dedicated to criminal justice and public safety.
Mr. Wheeler asked if a policing fee could be implemented for Citgo, just as is done in the City of Kankakee, where the business pays to have extra drive-bys and patrols. Chief McCabe stated that something like that may be a possibility.
Mayor Hodge stated that Citgo is providing about half of the funding that will be paid directly to the sheriff. The Sheriff is saving them a huge amount of money, as it would cost the Village around $400,000 a year to fund their own police department. Some of the consequences would be to fine and arrest loiterers, and to tow vehicles that are parked on and blocking gas tanks. A short period of time with a dramatic police presence will make a great impact. They tried using private security, and it was not effective. There has to be someone who can arrest, detain, and tow away. This agreement is the one the Sheriff has with other communities, and they are paying the same amount that other communities are paying.
Vehicle Lease Update (Corrections/Patrol)
Chief McCabe stated that the Sheriff would discuss this at the next meeting.
Chief McCabe stated that the Sheriff would discuss this at the next meeting.
Chief McCabe stated that the Sheriff would discuss this at the next meeting.
Chief McCabe stated that we are in arrears with our bill to KanComm. He knows the
Chairman has said we don’t have any money, but we need to get KanComm paid.
11. Old Business/New Business