DuPage sheriff seeks budget increase for 2021

 
 
Updated 8/28/2020 4:52 PM

DuPage Sheriff James Mendrick is asking the county board to give his department roughly $930,000 in additional funding for the next fiscal year.

Members of the county board's finance committee this week reviewed Mendrick's proposed budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which starts Dec. 1.

 

Mendrick is requesting a budget of roughly $47 million, which is $931,227 more than the department's current spending plan. But the request is much smaller than the ambitious $5.3 million increase Mendrick had initially sought in 2019.

"It's been a tough year with COVID and all the demonstrations," Mendrick said. "We ran into a lot of real challenges."

With the country roiling over police funding debates, Mendrick made his case against cuts during his presentation.

"Since I've been elected, we still have not had one citizen complaint of use of force against any of our people," Mendrick said. "We only had one 'global use of force' since I've been elected and that was about a year ago in our correctional facility, and that person was immediately terminated."

He said the county jail has not had any confirmed cases of coronavirus due to strict scientific and safety protocols.

As for crime stats, Mendrick said they are on the rise when comparing numbers from Jan. 1 to Aug. 21 of 2019 to this year. For example, overdoses in unincorporated DuPage rose from 39 last year to 82 so far this year.

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Meanwhile, the sheriff's office has implemented cost-savings measures. Mendrick cited savings through the consolidation of the Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center with the Addison Consolidated Dispatch Center, and staffing shifts with new hires for court security officers who have lower starting salaries versus senior officers.

"Every year, we attrition more people out and the savings get bigger," Mendrick said. "Anybody who can leave is leaving our profession right now. I'm telling you, it's a hard time that we're dealing with out there. You know, we're doing out jobs, but I can tell that the police culture is trying to adapt to some of this stuff that's occurring in other areas."

No decision was made after Mendrick's presentation. But several county board members responded positively to it.

Chairman Dan Cronin is scheduled to present his proposed county budget to the board Sept. 22. He will consider information from budget discussions when drafting the overall spending plan.

County board members have until Nov. 30 to approve a budget for the 2021 fiscal year.

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