Staffing shortages lie ahead for the Cook County Sheriff’s Department
WTIP file photo

Staffing shortages lie ahead for the Cook County Sheriff’s Department

The Cook County Sheriff’s Department is preparing for the busy months ahead with a reduced number of deputies.

Like many businesses and organizations in Cook County, staffing shortages are common throughout the community. However, while the department experiences the same challenges as many regarding housing and wages, another factor contributes to the equation.

Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen informed the Cook County Board of Commissioners during the July 12 meeting of the challenges the sheriff’s department is facing.

Eliasen said during the meeting, “There is a shortage of applicants due to a reduced class size statewide. People are just not going to law enforcement school.” 

Not only are there fewer law enforcement applicants, but for those that do apply, the hiring process is extensive and can take up to five months. In addition to first and second interviews, applicants are required to have psychological and physical exams, a background investigation, and three months of field training.  

WTIP spoke with Eliasen after the July 12 meeting to learn more about the staffing shortages at the sheriff’s department.

Eliasen said the department typically has eight deputies. However, the department is preparing to lose three deputies, leaving five deputies for the remainder of the busy summer season. 

In addition, the department has two open positions for a dispatcher. Eliasen said, “That’s the heartbeat of the emergency response in Cook County.” 

Regardless of the shortages, Eliasen said they will always answer the call. “You’re never gonna go without services from the sheriff’s office,” he said. Eliasen added that while the remaining five deputies have sacrificed upcoming summer vacations and time off, he is very proud of his department for stepping up to serve the public. 

“I can’t say enough about our staff, you know, patrol deputies and the dispatchers for what they do. What they are continuing to do right now for the people in Cook County,” Eliasen said. 

Contact the sheriff’s department for more information or to learn more about the open positions.

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen to learn more about the shortage of deputies in the department. Audio from the interview is below.