Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has laid the groundwork for a police agency that's more responsive, that seeks to work with other departments to reduce crime rather than protect turf, and that respects and tries to connect with the communities where jail inmates will try to start over when they are released.
Sheriff since 2006, Dart has shown he's tough as nails when appropriate, yet humane to those caught in crossfire, such as renters evicted when their landlords fail to pay or children left behind in the wake of arrests of adults. Dart, a Democrat, deserves to be re-elected.
Voters, though, should know they may be electing someone who may shortly decide to run for Chicago mayor in April. If he were to run and win that post, it would be up to the Cook County Board to fill the sheriff's job.
Dart won't yet say if he'll run for mayor, but contends he's always been upfront with voters and that he did not choose the timing of the mayoral race, which has drawn many suitors since Richard Daley announced he will not run again.
Republican Frederick Collins, a Chicago police officer, and the Green Party's Marshall P. Lewis also are running for sheriff.
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