DuPage sheriff says censure was not discussed at meeting with county chair over gun ban

DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick says he was not threatened with censure during a meeting Monday with the county board chair and state's attorney.

"We ALL agreed that our police should not be going to the homes of our law abiding residents to harass them over gun registration," Mendrick said in a statement posted Tuesday on the DuPage County sheriff's office Facebook page. "They get the issues. We will not be sending deputies out proactively to take your lawfully owned guns. Please remove that stressor from your lives."

Mendrick, a Republican, came under fire for saying earlier this month he would not jail or arrest anyone solely for not complying with the state's new weapons ban. DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy, a Democrat, quickly responded on Jan. 13 by expressing disappointment in Mendrick's stance, adding, "We should not be playing politics with state law."

The following week, Democratic state, federal and county leaders called on Mendrick to retract his earlier statement or step down. On Jan. 24, Conroy said she would present a resolution to censure Mendrick at the Feb. 14 county board meeting.

Monday's meeting was the first time Conroy and Mendrick met since he made his initial comment.

Mendrick, Conroy and State's Attorney Robert Berlin subsequently released a joint statement saying they discussed the state's new law and that enforcement did not require house-to-house checks.

"With this understanding, Sheriff Mendrick is committed to enforcing all state and local laws," the joint statement read. "Chair Conroy is committed to supporting the sheriff's office in maintaining safe communities within DuPage County and sees no reason to pursue a censure resolution at this time."

When asked for comment Tuesday about Mendrick's latest statement, Conroy referred to Monday's joint statement. She added that Monday's meeting was productive and that Mendrick assured her he would uphold all state and local laws.

"As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing more to say," she said. "We move forward focusing on keeping our residents and communities safe."

Mendrick's statement Tuesday implies censure was never discussed at the Monday meeting, although the joint statement specifically mentions Conroy would not seek censure. Mendrick did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

In his posted statement, Mendrick said the county will work to enhance penalties for crimes committed with guns and that law-abiding residents have nothing to fear. He also reiterated his dedication to fighting crime and to gun rights, and he questioned media coverage of Monday's meeting.

"We have reached a time where we must protect our citizens from illegal gun use and at the same time allow law-abiding citizens the ability to defend themselves," his statement read. "The media will make up their own version of this interaction to create conflict, but the truth is that we all agree on the difference between lawful citizens and criminals."

Deborah Conroy
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