Endorsement: Nerheim for Lake County state's attorney

Two-term Republican Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim faces an aggressive challenge from Democrat Eric Rinehart.

Nerheim, of Gurnee, points to his 20 years of experience and many accomplishments in office. Rinehart, an 18-year defense attorney from Highwood, has criticized Nerheim in areas of violent crime, racial profiling and transparency, and says a change is needed.

Rinehart has pledged to: make ending domestic violence a priority; streamline prosecutor court time; and form a violent-crime task force to work with law enforcement, church leaders and community groups.

Nerheim has built a record that includes establishing training, panels and advisory boards to examine and address wrongful convictions - freeing four people wrongly convicted before he took office - and creating several specialized units to focus on crimes, including gangs and domestic violence, and diversion programs.

He's co-founded a countywide initiative to fight opioids and helped create the "A Way Out" program that has helped 700 people seeking treatment for substance abuse through police without arrest. He's led upgrades at the Lake County Children's Advocacy Center, which investigates child sexual abuse cases, and helped raise money for a healing garden and a future medical wing.

Nerheim says he wants to address police interactions with people who have mental illness by working with community leaders and nonprofits to develop a crisis care/wellness center in Lake County that would serve as a walk-in and a drop-off facility. He's working with the attorney general and some law enforcement leaders to craft police licensure legislation that would allow for additional independent review of police misconduct.

We find Nerheim to be a thoughtful and progressive leader. He is endorsed.

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