FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Adult Probation Department Investigation
Released On 08/20/2004
Results of an investigation conducted by Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans have determined that the court’s Adult Probation Department acted properly in withdrawing probation officers from fieldwork duty at various times within the last month due to safety concerns. However department officials failed in their responsibilities to immediately notify Chief Judge Evans of their decision, and to take immediate action to return the full complement of officers to the street as soon as possible.
Adult Probation Department officials have stated that due to problems with the two-way radio communication system used by the department, fieldwork operations were reduced or suspended entirely at varying times between July 22, 2004, and August 10, 2004, and that probation officers made up for the lack of face-to-face contact with probationers with telephone calls.
Chief Judge Evans said, "The first mission of the court is public safety and justice and at no time should either be compromised. When I was finally informed of the modification in probation fieldwork on Tuesday, August 10, 2004, I immediately ordered the Adult Probation Department to resume field checks on high risk offenders, using radios borrowed from sister agencies and cell phones in place of radios where necessary. To further alleviate concerns over staff safety, I also ordered department supervisors into the field to assist probation officers in the performance of their duties."
Chief Judge Evans said further he has put the Adult Probation Department’s Chief Probation Officer, Veronica Ballard, on notice that management reform is now a top priority for her department to ensure an interruption in fieldwork services does not occur again.