No more censure threat after DuPage sheriff, county board chair come to terms on weapons ban

Nearly one week after saying she would seek censure of DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick, DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy is changing course.

In a joint statement with Mendrick and DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin, Conroy said Monday she has decided not to pursue a resolution to censure Mendrick after the three county leaders "engaged in a meaningful conversation during which they discussed their shared commitment to the safety of DuPage County residents."

The discussion, which happened Monday, also focused on Illinois' new weapons ban and how it does not include a provision mandating that sheriff's deputies go door to door to remove weapons from people's homes.

"With this understanding, Sheriff Mendrick is committed to enforcing all state and local laws," the statement read.

Officials working for Berlin and Conroy said neither would make any additional comment. Mendrick could not be reached for comment Monday.

Mendrick, a Republican, came under fire earlier this month when he issued a statement saying he would not arrest or jail anyone who is charged only with not complying with the state's new weapons ban.

Conroy, a Democrat, quickly released a statement on Jan. 13 expressing disappointment in Mendrick's comments, adding that "we should not be playing politics with state law."

The following week, Democratic county board members, state lawmakers, members of Congress and some residents called on Mendrick to retract his statement or step down.

Conroy closed out a heated county board meeting on Jan. 24 with a statement saying "words matter" and that she would seek a resolution for censure at the Feb. 14 board meeting.

Meanwhile, Mendrick appeared on AM 560's "Black and Right" radio program and on Fox News' "America Reports" defending his stance. He maintained he believed the state's new weapons ban was unconstitutional and said that while he would not jail people solely for noncompliance, he would continue to investigate crimes involving weapons.

While the DuPage County Board posted the joint statement on Facebook Monday afternoon, Mendrick had not yet shared the statement on the sheriff's Facebook page as of 5 p.m. Monday. Mendrick's original Jan. 13 statement also remained posted on the DuPage County sheriff's Facebook page.

County board member Jim Zay, a Carol Stream Republican, said he was glad the three came together to talk and that "everybody's on the same page."

"I think it showed a lot of leadership on their part," Zay said.

County board member Liz Chaplin, a Downers Grove Democrat, said the joint statement was "a good start" but expressed some reservation.

"When I see the sheriff post on social media, I will feel much better about this," she said. "He has unnecessarily caused a lot of confusion, fear and anger. He needs to publicly set the record straight that he will enforce the law and all laws."

• Daily Herald staff writer Katlyn Smith contributed to this report

  DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy Monday said she would not seek the censure of Sheriff James Mendrick for remarks he made about the state's gun ban. Brian Hill/
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