Tom Dart has dedicated his career to challenging injustice, fighting violence plaguing our communities, and bringing new, thoughtful approaches to public service.
After serving as a prosecutor and state legislator, Tom Dart was elected by the people of Cook County, and has brought his reformative vision, and his commitment to action, to his role as sheriff. He has rewritten the book on what a sheriff can accomplish, looking inside and outside of the conventions of law enforcement for nuanced and thoughtful solutions to help people.
Tom Dart has been a leader in reforming the criminal justice system and transforming correctional settings into more humane, trauma-informed environments. He has developed a framework to identify and engage all persons detained in his custody with in-custody service and discharge plans tailored to each person’s unique needs. Tom Dart has also instituted extensive programming at the jail, seeking to give individuals in custody skills that help to stop the revolving door of incarceration.
After recognizing that much of the population in Cook County Jail needed mental health treatment, Tom Dart worked with Cermak Health to provide individuals in custody with mental health treatment plans. For people outside of the jail, Tom Dart created the Sheriff’s Office’s Community Resource Center (CRC) which seeks to help fill the large void that was left when mental health facilities closed by connecting those in need of mental health treatment to available providers. The CRC assists residents with finding housing, job opportunities, and other medical care as well. Tom Dart also formed the Sheriff’s Office’s Treatment Response Team to provide support and assistance for those in the community struggling with substance abuse issues.
Tom Dart continually has prioritized reducing violence in Chicago and creating programs that build community and connection between law enforcement and the people they serve. The Sheriff’s Anti-Violence Effort provides intensive therapy and life-skills training for incarcerated young men from neighborhoods experiencing violence. His Chicago Initiatives program uses a community policing model, which works to remove guns from the street while reconnecting law enforcement with communities. Led by Dart, officers regularly create community events that provide health care and offer other necessities so that the people who live in these underserved communities can have some of their needs met.
Under Tom Dart’s administration, the Sheriff’s Office and Cermak Health received the 2021 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties for their collaborative and forward-thinking efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 in Cook County Jail. Tom Dart also received the Community Service Award of the Year from the National Alliance on Mental Illness Southwest for his efforts at providing necessary mental health services for individuals in custody.
Tom Dart has been named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine, and a Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine. He and his wife, Patricia, live on Chicago’s South Side and are the proud parents of five children.
For more information visit: https://sherifftomdart.com/