Rinehart criticizes Nerheim over lack of domestic violence council meetings

  • Incumbent Michael Nerheim, left, and Eric Rinehart are candidates for Lake County state's attorney.

    Incumbent Michael Nerheim, left, and Eric Rinehart are candidates for Lake County state's attorney.

 
 
Updated 9/15/2020 7:17 PM

Eric Rinehart, the Democrat running for Lake County state's attorney, on Tuesday criticized Republican incumbent Michael Nerheim for not convening his office's Domestic Violence Coordinating Council for more than a year.

However, Nerheim said the group, which was established in 1994, meets every six months and had to cancel its meeting planned for mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The council is made up of representatives from community and advocacy groups and is tasked with improving coordination on domestic violence issues and prevention strategies between agencies, departments, and the courts.

Nerheim, a Gurnee resident, said the entire body convenes twice a year at large meetings where members of the council's several subcommittees report out their progress. He said the subcommittees have continued to meet but they had to cancel the last regular council meeting in the spring because of COVID-19.

Nerheim said the conditions are such now that the group was able to meet last week.

But Rinehart said the growing domestic violence crisis warrants extra meetings, not fewer.

"Nerheim's office knew that domestic violence was on the rise during the quarantine," said Rinehart, who lives in Highwood. "Even a Zoom meeting would have given critical direction to law enforcement and court personnel. We must make this a priority in Lake County."

In the statement on his website Tuesday, Rinehart said if elected he'd convene monthly public meetings of a task force of domestic violence survivors, law enforcement personnel and domestic violence counselors.

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